What is a laparoscopic appendectomy?
A laparoscopic appendectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the appendix.
- The laparoscope is a flexible tube fitted with a video camera and light.
- Inserted through a tiny incision in the abdomen, the laparoscope enables the surgeon to visualize the appendix.
Why is a laparoscopic appendectomy performed?
- acute abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- constipation or diarrhea
- painful and/or frequent urination
Laparoscopic surgery has certain advantages over open surgery such as
The surgeon may decide to convert a laparoscopic surgery into an open one in the following situations:
How is laparoscopic appendectomy performed?
A general surgeon performs a laparoscopic appendectomy under general anesthesia.
- Prior to a laparoscopic appendectomy, the patient
- Undergoes a physical examination, blood tests, and imaging tests.
- May be immediately administered medications for pain and nausea, and antibiotics for infection.
- Must avoid eating or drinking anything 8 hours prior to the surgery when possible.
- Must check with the surgeon before taking any regular medication.
- Must inform the surgeon of any medical conditions and allergies, or if pregnant.
- A catheter may be attached to decompress the bladder.
- The patient is connected to an IV line.
- The patient may be intubated for oxygen supply.
- Makes three small incisions in the stomach wall.
- Inflates the abdomen with carbon dioxide through a cannula inserted in one of the incisions.
- Inserts the laparoscope through the second incision.
- Guided by the images from the laparoscope, finds, excises and removes the appendix using tiny surgical tools inserted into the incisions via the cannulas.
- Releases the gas in the abdomen through the incisions.
- Irrigates the area with saline and suctions the fluid.
- May attach a tube to drain fluids.
- Closes the incisions with stitches or staples.
The patient is brought out of anesthesia, taken to the recovery room, administered pain medication and monitored till vitals are stable.
The removed appendix is sent for testing.
What is recovery time for laparoscopic appendectomy?
- After a laparoscopic surgery the patient may be discharged the same day or the next day unless there is serious infection.
- The patient will generally be able to return normal activities within one to three weeks.
- The patient may have to follow diet restrictions for a few days and avoid strenuous activity.
What are the side effects of a laparoscopic appendectomy?
Appendectomy is one of the safest surgical procedures, though it does carry a few risks and complications.
Early complications include the following:
- Anesthetic side effects such as
- Bleeding and blood clots
- Surgical site infection
- Abdominal abscess
- Injury to nearby organs
- Formation of fistula (abnormal connection between unconnected parts of the bowel)
- Abdominal pain and/or swelling
- Peritonitis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
Late complications include:
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