If you’re considering having an appendectomy, it can be helpful to weigh the risks and benefits of this procedure, with advice from a general surgeon. Here are some important things to consider before undergoing appendectomy.
What is an appendectomy?
An appendectomy is a surgical option for removing the appendix. The appendix is a small tube that connects near the bottom of the large intestine (or colon), usually in the right lower part of your abdomen. It’s about nine inches long, and about two inches wide.
There are two types of appendicitis: acute appendicitis and chronic or inflammatory appendicitis. Chronic or inflammatory are less common than acute, and it’s more likely that someone will need surgery for these conditions than someone who has an acute attack.
What is appendicitis?
Appendicitis is a condition where the appendix becomes inflamed, swollen, and fills up with pus, creating a blockage. It then bursts and if complications arise, surgery may be required to remove the appendix.
Appendicitis is caused by obstruction somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to inflammation of the appendix. This is followed by infection of the appendix wall due to waste products leaking into it from your food or drink. The infection may slowly spread outside of the wall of your appendix until it bursts, releasing further infection into your abdomen.
Symptoms of appendicitis
The symptoms of appendicitis often include pain in the lower right part of the abdomen, which is felt by pressing on your lower belly. You may also have pain with movement or during bowel movements, nausea, and vomiting.
Three things to consider before undergoing appendectomy
- Tell your surgeon the vital information: Let your surgeon know if you are pregnant or believe you may be pregnant. Find out if you are allergic or sensitive to latex or anesthesia. Make sure you inform them if you have a history of bleeding disorders.
- Eat nothing for at least 8 hours before your operation: This lowers the chance of aspiration, which occurs when stomach contents enter the lungs, as well as other consequences. An empty stomach also allows the doctor to see the abdominal cavity more clearly.
- Refrain from taking medications before the surgery: This can cause serious complications. In some cases, people who are having an operation while taking certain medications may not get a good result from the surgery. The same is true with pre-surgery blood thinners (coumadin or warfarin), which can interfere with the effects of these medications.
- Read safety information from the surgeon: Before surgery, you will receive detailed instructions and warnings from your surgeon about what to expect during and after your treatment. Make sure to read and digest the information and do what you are supposed to do so as to make the surgery experience smooth for you and your surgeon.
The appendix is removed during an appendectomy, which is a routine surgical treatment. To treat appendicitis, surgeons frequently conduct an appendectomy.
The length of recovery and risk of complications are determined by the severity of appendicitis and whether or not the appendix has ruptured. It will take a little time to recover your appetite after surgery. Appendicitis must be recognized and diagnosed quickly in order for a person to receive treatment before their appendix ruptures.
Many people can return home after the surgery in as little as two days. It is not required to adjust your lifestyle after having an appendectomy.
A person can live without the appendix because it serves no critical functions in the body. If you want to avoid this surgery, you should care for your appendix.