A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  R  S  T  U  V  W  Z


Appendectomy

Definition

An appendectomy is surgery to remove the appendix.

See also: Appendicitis

Alternative Names

Appendix removal

Description

The appendix is a small, finger-shaped sac extending from the first part of the large intestine. It is removed when it becomes inflamed or infected. An infected appendix can leak and infect the entire abdominal area, which can be deadly. See: Peritonitis.

An appendectomy is done under general anesthesia, which means you are asleep and do not feel any pain during the surgery. The surgeon makes a small cut in the lower right side of your belly area and removes the appendix.

The appendix can also be removed using minimally invasive techniques. This is called a laparoscopic appendectomy. It is performed with small incisions and a camera.

If the appendix ruptured or a pocket of infection (abscess) formed, your abdomen will be thoroughly washed out during surgery. A small tube may be left in the belly area to help drain out fluids or pus.

Risks

Risks for any anesthesia include the following:

  • Reactions to medications
  • Problems breathing
Risks for any surgery include the following:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
Additional risks with an appendectomy with ruptured appendix include the following:
  • Longer hospital stays
  • Side effects from medications

Review Date: 5/2/2009
Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.