An appendectomy is a common emergency surgical procedure performed to remove the appendix in case of appendicitis. Appendicitis is an inflammatory condition of the appendix. Appendix is a small, tube-shaped pouch located in the lower right side of the abdomen and is attached to the large intestine. Appendix is the only organ of our body whose exact purpose isn-t known and our body can function properly without an appendix.
Appendicitis is an emergency condition that occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed and swollen causing pain around the belly button that spreads to the lower right section of the abdomen. Pain worsens on walking or coughing and may be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
If not treated, appendicitis can lead to life-threatening bursting of appendix (perforated appendix) and release of bacteria and other harmful substances into the abdominal cavity.
Appendicitis can be treated only by appendectomy i.e. removal of appendix before it ruptures. The appendix can either be removed by open or laparoscopic appendectomy depending upon the patient and appendix condition.
Indication for Laparoscopic Appendectomy
Early and non-ruptured appendicitis can be removed laparoscopically while appendicitis with advanced infection or ruptured appendix can be removed by open appendectomy. Laparoscopic surgery is usually the best option for older adults and people who are overweight.
Laparoscopic appendectomy is a minimally invasive procedure performed under general anaesthesia through 3 small incisions (each to inch) in the abdominal cavity. A cannula is inserted to inflate the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas that allows the surgeon to clearly see the appendix. After abdominal inflation a laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions. The laparoscope is attached to a monitor outside that guides the surgeon to see inside the abdomen and proceed with the instruments to find appendix. The appendix is tied off with stiches and removed through the incisions. These incisions are then cleaned, closed, and dressed.
Advantages of Laparoscopic Appendectomy
- Small incisions and minimal scarring
- Short surgery which usually takes only 15 to 30 minutes
- Less postoperative pain
- Short hospital stay
- Quicker return to bowel function
- Early return to normal activity
- Better cosmetic results
- Fewer risks of complications