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Laparoscopic appendectomy

What is a laparoscopic appendectomy?

A laparoscopic appendectomy is a common emergency surgery done to remove the infected appendix (appendicitis) using minimally invasive surgical techniques as opposed to traditional open appendectomy surgery.

How is a laparoscopic appendectomy done?

Once under general anaesthesia, a laparoscope, which is a narrow tube with a camera, will be inserted through a small incision in the navel allowing your surgeon to view the internal organs on a screen. Through other thin tubes, narrow tools are added to delicately remove the appendix and stitch the end of the caecum (appendix root) closed. 

Finally, your surgeon will close the puncture-like incisions with absorbable stitches or surgical staples.

Why would a laparoscopic appendectomy be done?

A laparoscopic appendectomy surgery is done when your appendix is inflamed which can cause a build-up of bacteria and infection, which causes pain in the right side of the abdomen.

How long will I be in hospital?

Most laparoscopic appendectomy patients are able to go home on the same day as surgery. How soon you will be discharged from hospital depends on whether you are able to drink liquids when waking up, how much pain you have and whether you have someone to look after you at home.

What will happen after laparoscopic surgery?

Following a laparoscopic appendectomy you may experience the following:

  • Pain in your lower right side of the abdomen.
  • Constipation, diarrhoea or gas
  • Pain when coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • Red skin around your wounds.

All these symptoms are normal and are nothing to be concerned about. Re-consult if you have an unusually high temperature, chills, vomiting, swelling around the incisions, bleeding, you are experiencing excessive pain or cramping of the stomach muscles as emergency care may be needed. Approximately 3 weeks after your operation you will be seen by your surgeon to check your wounds.

How soon after the surgery can I resume normal activities?

You will be able to resume normal activities soon after your surgery; however, it is important to start slowly. If you experience pain during certain activities, stop that activity. You may not do any heavy lifting or vigorous physical activity for at least 2 weeks after your laparoscopic procedure. You may return to physical exercise only once you have been to your follow-up consult, 3 weeks after surgery.

What are the potential risks and complications a laparoscopic appendectomy?

The risk of complications during laparoscopic surgery is very low; however, there are risks involved in any surgery, and the following complications can occur:

  • Infection of the wound or internal infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • A leak at the edge of the colon where the appendix was removed.
  • Damage to the adjacent organs such as small intestine, bladder or ureter.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots.
  • Risks from the general anaesthetic.
endoscopic and-laparoscopic surgery
endoscopic and-laparoscopic procedures

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