This is the surgical removal of the appendix in order to treat acute appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix).
Why is it done?
Appendectomy is performed to prevent an inflamed appendix bursting and causing peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity) or an abdominal abscess.
How is it done?
The two methods of appendectomy are conventional appendectomy and minimally invasive surgery. Conventional surgery involves making a hole in the abdominal wall that is large enough for the surgeon’s instruments and finger tips to be introduced. In minimally invasive surgery, three or four small holes are made in the abdominal wall; a laparoscope (viewing instrument) that incorporates a video camera is inserted into one of the opening, and instruments and suction tubes into the others.
In both types of operation, the appendix is identified, clamped, tied off at its base, and removed. If the appendix has burst, the infected area of the abdominal cavity is washed out with saline and drained via a tube inserted into one of the incisions. Antibiotic drugs may also be given to prevent peritonitis.
Complications and outlook
Possible complications are infection of the incision wound, an abscess at the site from which the appendix was remove, or localized peritonitis. In the absence of complications, normal physical activities can usually be resumed within two or three weeks.