An appendectomy is the removal of the appendix, which is a small organ attached to the large intestine. It can become inflamed or swollen, causing pain and signaling the need to have it removed. The appendix can also develop a small hole (perforation). When the appendix perforates, it begins to leak into the abdomen and can cause a major, possibly fatal infection unless it is removed.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
Symptoms tend to appear quickly, often over a day or two. Symptoms can include:
- Pain that starts in the center of your belly and moves to your lower right side
- Increased pain and pressure on your side when you walk
- Vomiting, nausea, or decreased appetite
- Fever or fatigue
- Diarrhea or constipation
Appendectomies are performed under general anesthesia. It can be completed through an open operation or laparoscopic surgery. During open surgery, a short incision is made in the skin and fat, and the muscles of the abdominal wall are separated. This allows for entry into the abdominal cavity and extraction of the appendix. Following removal, the abdominal wall is closed and the tissue is sutured. Often, appendectomies can be performed laparoscopically, reducing the size of the scar.