Laparoscopic Appendectomy

A laparoscopic appendectomy is a minimally invasive procedure to remove the inflamed appendix.


The appendix is a thin tube that is about four inches long and is located at the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine. The function of the appendix is unknown, but one theory is that it serves as a storehouse for good bacteria.

Appendicitis is when the appendix becomes inflamed and needs to be removed or it can rupture, spilling infectious material into the abdominal cavity. This may occur as soon as 48 to 72 hours after symptoms begin. Appendicitis is considered an emergency and anyone with symptoms needs to see a doctor immediately.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

1.    Appendicitis may cause pain in the abdomen which may be described as follows:

·        May start in the area around the belly button and move over to the lower right-hand side of the abdomen, but may also start in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen.

·        Usually increases in severity over time.

·        May become more severe with moving, taking deep breaths, being touched, and coughing or sneezing.

·        May spread throughout the abdomen if the appendix ruptures.

2.    Other symptoms include, but are not limited to, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and chills, constipation, diarrhea, inability to pass gas, and abdominal swelling.

3.    The symptoms of appendicitis may resemble other medical conditions. Furthermore, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Always consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

** It is important that patients with symptoms of appendicitis not take laxatives or enemas to relieve constipation as these can cause the appendix to burst. Pain medication should also be avoided as they can mask other symptoms. **

To remove the infected appendix before it bursts and spreads the infection to the entire abdominal space.
In comparison with the traditional open appendectomy, the laparoscopic method results in less postoperative pain, a shorter hospital stay, quicker return to bowel function, quicker return to normal activity, and produces better cosmetic results. While the procedure may have many benefits, it is not appropriate for all patients. An appendix that is severely infected or has ruptured may not be removed this way and will require an open appendectomy.
  1. A laparoscopic appendectomy is performed under general anesthesia so a complete physical examination is required before surgery. The patient may have to undergo blood tests and other diagnostic tests as well.
  2. The patient must avoid all food and water for at least six hours before the procedure.
  3. Certain medications may have to be discontinued before surgery, especially anticoagulants and blood thinners like aspirin. The patient should inform the doctor of all medications, supplements, and herbal supplements they are regularly taking.
  4. Inform the doctor of any allergies to medication, latex or anesthesia, and of any history of bleeding disorders.
  5. If the patient suspects that they might be pregnant, inform the doctor immediately.
In a laparoscopic appendectomy three small incisions (measuring ¼ to ½ inch) will be made on the abdomen. A narrow tube-like instrument called a trocar will be inserted through the incision and a laparoscope, a tiny telescope connected to a video camera, will be inserted through the cannula. This gives the surgeon a magnified view of the patient’s internal organs on a television monitor. Two to three other cannulas are inserted to allow the surgeon to remove the appendix.
After the procedure, it is important that to follow the doctor’s instructions. Although most patients feel almost normal within a few days, it is important to remember that the body needs time to heal.
  1. Patients are encouraged to get out of bed the day after surgery and walk. This will prevent blood clots and alleviate any pain the patient is experiencing in their legs.
  2. Patients will probably be able to get back to normal activities in one to two weeks, including showering, driving, walking up stairs, working and engaging in sexual intercourse.
  3. If the patient experiences prolonged soreness or are getting no relief from the prescribed pain medication, please notify the doctor.
As the procedure is performed under general anesthesia, there are risks associated with that. Other possible complications from the surgery include:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • A leak at the edge of the colon where the appendix was removed
  • Injury to adjacent organs such as the small intestine, ureter, or bladder.
  • Blood clot to the lungs
Call the Doctor
Consult the doctor immediately if the patient experiences any of the following:
  • Persistent fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius)
  • Bleeding
  • Increasing abdominal swelling
  • Pain that is not relieved by medication
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Chills
  • Persistent cough or shortness of breath
  • Purulent drainage (pus) from any incision
  • Redness surrounding any of the incisions that is worsening or getting bigger
  • Inability to eat or drink
  • If you are taking any blood-thinning medication/anticoagulant, please let your doctor know as some may need to be stopped before you travel for the procedure.
  • Travelers to Thailand should plan to stay in the country for at least one week or for the entire duration of treatment.
  • If you plan to return home after the procedure, please speak to your doctor before making travel arrangements.
  • During your follow-up appointment your medical team will assess your health and your incision and you will receive documents detailing your medical and treatment history and your "Fit to Fly" certificate (if needed).
The success of the procedure depends on a number of factors. Please discuss the likelihood of success with your doctor before the procedure.

What if this procedure is not performed?
If a laparoscopic appendectomy is not performed quickly, the appendix could burst and spread infection throughout the body.
A traditional open appendectomy.

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