What Is and Appendicitis and an Appendectomy?
Appendicitis is the acute inflammation of the appendix, a small, finger-shaped pouch of intestine that projects from your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. An appendectomy is the surgical procedure that ensures the removal of the affected appendix.
Common Signs and Symptoms
The main symptom of appendicitis is abdominal pain, which usually begins around the navel and eventually moves and progresses to the lower right side of the abdomen. As the inflammation advances, there are other symptoms that present, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal bloating
The appendix becomes inflamed and infected after a blockage of its lining occurs. This could be the result of several things such as a fecalith (small, round-shape amount of feces), parasites or any other foreign body such as seeds that could possibly block the appendix. This blockage causes the bacteria usually present in the colon, to quickly multiply, resulting in the appendix swelling and pus formating. The pus progresses and enlarges the appendix, which causes appendicitis symptoms.
Your medical history will be assessed and a detailed physical exam of your abdomen will be conducted. Additional tests and procedures will be used to confirm the diagnosis of appendicitis, including:
- White blood count. If it’s high it indicates infection
- Urine test. To exclude urinary infection as the cause of your abdominal pain
- Imaging tests like an abdominal X-ray or abdominal ultrasound to confirm appendicitis
Appendicitis Treatment | Laparoscopic Appendectomy
Almost all cases of appendicitis require a surgical procedure to remove the inflamed appendix and prevent its rupture into the abdomen.
Laparoscopic appendectomy is a minimally invasive procedure in which the doctor will make several small incisions in your abdomen and insert some special surgical tools and a tiny video camera, in order to see inside of your abdomen and efficiently remove the inflamed appendix. The entire procedure usually takes about 1-2 hours and you will be closely monitored all the time.
The laparoscopic technique has many benefits over open surgery when performing an appendectomy, including:
- Overall less invasive procedure
- Quicker recovery time
- Less pain
However, not all appendectomy cases can be performed with laparoscopic technique. If your appendix has already ruptured and its content has spread into your abdomen, you might need open surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.