The appendix is a small, nonessential organ attached to the large intestine near its connection to the small intestine. When the appendix becomes inflamed or infected, it is generally removed. Surgical removal of the appendix, known as an appendectomy, can be performed with an open procedure or using laparoscopic instruments. Risks and side effects vary depending on the type of procedure, whether the appendix has ruptured, and other factors. Most side effects are mild and temporary, although serious complications sometimes happen.
An appendectomy is a common surgical process to remove the appendix. Surgeons often perform an appendectomy to treat appendicitis.
The recovery time and the risk of complications depend on the severity of appendicitis and whether or not the appendix ruptured. Prompt recognition and diagnosis of appendicitis are vital to allowing a person to get treatment before their appendix ruptures
Since an appendectomy involves manipulation of the bowel, you might experience diarrhea for a few days after the procedure. Constipation can also happen, primarily due to narcotic pain medicines that may be prescribed. Ileus — temporary lack of normal bowel contractions — can occur with any type of abdominal surgery. Symptoms contain nausea, vomiting and abdominal distention. This situation usually resolves on its own within a few days, although it may prolong your hospital stay. Less commonly, a temporary bowel obstruction can occur due to bowel swelling near the site where the appendix was removed. This situation also typically resolves with a few days of appropriate treatment in the hospital. Scar tissue formation after an appendectomy can increase the risk of a bowel obstruction years after the procedure, although this is a rare complication.
Abdominal pain after an appendectomy is expected, but the severity varies among individuals. Postoperative pain typically decreases over time, and surgeons routinely prescribe pain medication as needed. Holding a pillow against your stomach when coughing or getting up can help minimize your pain with these activities. Abdominal discomfort due to bloating is also common after a laparoscopic appendectomy. This gas can also sometimes reason referred shoulder pain. Gas-related side effects are short-lived, as the gas dissipates in the first 24 to 48 hours after a laparoscopic procedure.
A surgical wound infection is the most common, serious complication after an appendectomy. These infections are more common with an open appendectomy compared to a laparoscopic process. People who smoke may be an enlarged risk for postoperative wound infections. Rupture of the appendix before surgery also rises the risk for an infection at the site of the surgical incision. Most surgical wound infections are treated successfully with antibiotics, but other treatment may be required.
An emergency appendectomy is performed with suspected appendicitis because if the appendix ruptures, bowel bacteria escapes into and infects the abdominal cavity. This infection, known as peritonitis, is a serious complication of appendicitis. However, peritonitis can also develop as a rare complication of appendix removal surgery.
General Side Effects of Surgery and Anesthesia
Certain side effects are possible with any abdominal surgical process, including an appendectomy. These potential but uncommon complications contain: — pneumonia — blood clot formation — development of a hernia — heart attack during or after surgery — reaction to anesthesia — excessive bleeding.
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