Appendectomy: Risks, Preparation, Procedure, Cost, Recovery

Appendectomy refers to the surgical removal of the appendix. It is the common emergency surgery performed by a surgeon used to treat appendicitis. Appendicitis develops when you suffer inflammation of the appendix. While inflammation of the appendix is a medical emergency, removing the organ causes you no lasting damage. You can live without the organ without experiencing any complications.

Know About Appendix And Appendectomy

Appendectomy The human body has an appendix, which is a tube-shaped pouch with a small size. It is attached to your large intestine. The appendix is located in the lower right side of the abdomen. While the exact function of the organ remains unknown, it can people recover from many diseases. The organ can aid in recovering from the following problems:

  • Inflammation
  • Diarrhea
  • Infection of the large and small intestine

The function of the appendix may sound important. But, your body can still function without an appendix. Why surgeons remove the appendix? Appendectomy is necessary when you face the risk of appendix burst. Your appendix suffers inflammation when it is blocked by foreign body, cancer or poop. Any infection in your body can also cause swelling of the organ. Inflammation of the appendix can cause swelling. The bacteria can multiply at a fast rate leading to the formation of pus. The buildup, as well as pus, can trigger pain around your belly button. It can spread to the lower part of your abdomen.


Movements like walking or coughing can increase your pain. It can also trigger many symptoms. When you experience signs of appendicitis, seek treatment immediately. Without treatment, your appendix can burst. Perforated bacteria can trigger severe complication as it releases bacteria and other harmful substances into your abdominal cavity. So, to avoid a life-threatening situation as well as a longer hospital stay, your doctor suggests surgery to remove the appendix.

Symptoms Of Appendicitis

So, how can you detect the problem? Inflammation of the appendix can trigger certain symptoms in your body. Therefore, check for the following signs:

  • Pain in your lower right belly
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain near the navel, which can move lower
  • After you experience belly pain, you feel nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen belly
  • High fever (temperature of 99 to 102 degrees Celsius)
  • Trouble passing gas

Other Signs

You can experience other less common symptoms of appendicitis like:

  • Dull or sharp pain in areas like back, rear-end or upper/lower belly
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Painful peeing
  • Vomiting feeling before the pain starts in the belly
  • Severe cramps
  • Diarrhea or constipation with gas

People suffering from the above-mentioned symptoms need to see a doctor. The signs indicate something is amiss in your body. So, getting a proper diagnosis is important to get early treatment. In usual cases, appendix removal is the standard procedure for appendicitis. Without treatment, you face the risk of the appendix rupturing. Never worry as appendectomy is a simple procedure. Therefore, you can recover from it quickly without any complications.

Diagnosing Appendicitis

If you experience sudden abdominal pain, then you need to see a doctor. Diagnosing appendicitis can become tricky. It is because the symptoms are unclear and mimic other illnesses. You can see signs that can resemble the following issues:

So, you need several tests to diagnose the problem. Your doctor can suggest the following tests to diagnose the problem:

  • Physical examination of the abdomen to check inflammation
  • Urine test to rule out UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
  • A blood test to detect any infection
  • Rectal exam
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scans

Why Doctors Perform Appendectomy?

You may think the necessary to remove the appendix. It is the easiest and quickest method to manage appendix inflammation. An infection can cause the swelling and inflammation of your appendix. The condition, also known as appendicitis occurs due to the clogging of the opening of the organ with stool or bacteria. Inflammation and swelling can escalate and lead to the rupturing of the organ. Appendix burst is a serious condition that needs immediate and effective treatment. Else, the bacterial and fecal particles inside the appendix spread into your abdominal region. You can develop a serious infection called peritonitis due to the rupturing of the appendix. The possibility of developing abscess due to appendix rupture is also high. So, to avoid life-threatening complications, you need to undergo immediate surgery.

Risks Associated With Appendectomy

While appendix removal surgery is simple with less complication, it is not free of risk. The common procedure has some risks associated with it, including:

  • Develop Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blocked bowels
  • Injury to nearby organs

You need to understand that the risks associated with appendectomy are less severe compared to the complications linked to untreated appendicitis. So, you need to talk to your doctor about undergoing the procedure before developing abscesses and peritonitis.

Cost Of Appendectomy

The cost of the procedure depends on the type of appendix removal option you choose. Laparoscopic method to remove appendix costs high. It is because it requires a specially trained doctor and sophisticated equipment to perform the procedure. The overall cost of appendectomy can vary from $10,000 to $35,000 based on the hospital you choose and the type of surgery you undergo. But, most of the insurance companies cover appendix removal surgery. So, patients who have health insurance coverage need to copay for consulting a doctor, room, prescription drug, and emergency room services. Your surgery cost also comes under coinsurance (10-50%). So, the cost can come down from the specified amount.

In countries like India, the cost is considerably low. You can access high-quality medical services at affordable rates. The overall cost for removing the appendix can range from INR 35,000 to INR 60,000. It is the cost of minimally invasive surgery. The cost of open surgery is considerably less. You get services from specialist doctors with years of experience. They perform the surgery and complete it without any hassles.

Preparing For Appendectomy

You have to prepare yourself for the procedure beforehand. Talk to your doctor about the guidelines you need to follow before undergoing the procedure. You need to follow the suggestions provided below:

Avoid Food

You have to stop eating or drinking at least eight hours before appendectomy. You must also inform your doctor about the medications you take. Certain medications like aspirin are avoided to prevent bleeding. Your doctor will offer detailed instructions on how and when you need to take medication before and after the procedure.

Inform Your Doctor

You have to inform your doctor about the following health conditions:

  • Suffer from allergic reactions due to certain medication, latex or anesthesia.
  • You are pregnant or have a chance of becoming pregnant
  • Have a history of bleeding disorder

Arrange Transportation

You need to take it easy for a few days after the surgery. So, you need to arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home after the procedure. The surgery is often performed after giving general anesthesia. So, it makes you drowsy. It is better to stay in the hospital for the rest of the day to avoid any complications.

Procedures Before Appendectomy

Before the actual procedure, you have to undergo some tests. So, you need to make an appointment with your doctor to assess your health before the procedure. Your doctor performs the following:

Physical Assessment

The doctor asks about our medical history and performs a thorough physical examination. During the examination, your doctor gently pushes against the abdomen. It is to identify the exact source of your abdominal pain.

Suggest Tests

The doctor orders blood tests and imaging tests. This test checks the state of your appendix. These tests are necessary when your doctor catches the condition early. When you undergo an emergency appendectomy, it is not necessary.

Hook IV

Before the actual procedure, your doctor hooks IV on the arm. It is to provide fluid and medication. Your doctor gives general anesthesia before the surgery. So, you remain asleep during the procedure. In some cases, the doctor provides local anesthesia. It only numbs the area. While you may not feel pain, you remain fully awake.

During Appendectomy Procedure

There are two types of appendectomy procedure. The procedure for each type is different. Your doctor chooses the type of procedure based on several factors, including your medical history and the severity of your appendicitis.

Open Appendectomy

Open Appendectomy

When you have to undergo an open appendectomy, the surgeon makes one big incision in the abdomen. The incision more than six inches is made in the lower right side of the abdomen. Your surgeon removes the appendix and closes the wound with stitches. The procedure allows your surgeon to clean the abdominal burst. It is required when you suffer from appendix burst. So, the procedure is ideal for people who suffer from appendix rupture and the spread of infection to other organs. The option is also ideal for people who have undergone abdominal surgery in the past.

Laparoscopic Appendectomy

Laparoscopic appendectomy is slightly different. Only a trained surgeon can perform the procedure. The surgeon uses a camera and sophisticated tools to complete the procedure. The first step of the procedure is to make several small incisions on the abdomen. Your abdomen is inflated using a cannula (a small, narrow tube). Carbon dioxide gas is passed to inflate the abdomen. The gas offers your surgeon a clear picture of your appendix. After inflating the abdomen, a laparoscope (special surgical instrument) is inserted through the incision. The laparoscope, a thin, long tube has a high-resolution camera and high-intensity light at one end. The other end is connected to a monitor. The camera offers images inside your abdomen. Your doctor can the images displayed on the screen.

Laparoscopic Appendectomy

Using the images, the surgeon guides the surgical instruments to your appendix. After finding the organ, the surgeon ties it with stitches and removed from your body. The surgeon closes the small incision after cleaning it. Dressing the wound is the last step to ensure healing. The laparoscopic option is ideal for people who are old or overweight. It has fewer risks compared to the open procedure. Since the incisions are small, you can heal quickly compared to open appendix removal surgery.

After Undergoing Appendectomy

After the procedure to remove the appendix completes, you need monitoring. Trained medical professionals monitor their health. They check your vital signs like heart rate and breathing. The nursing staff also monitors for bleeding or other complications. Some people can experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia or the procedure. So, the nursing staff will also monitor for such adverse reactions. Then, you can move into a regular hospital room. Your time of discharge from the hospital depends on the following factors:

  • Your overall physical condition
  • The type of appendix removal surgery performed (open or laparoscopic)
  • Your body’s reaction to surgery

A less severe appendix removal surgery requires less time to heal. So, you can leave the hospital the next day and rest at home. But, surgery to remove burst appendix requires a longer time to heal. You need to stay for a longer duration. For any of the surgery, you need the assistance of another person to drive you home and take care of things until you heal. It is not advisable to drive after the surgery as the anesthesia effects may not wear off completely. So, arrange for transportation when you have no one available to take you to and from the hospital.

Signs Of Trouble

After the surgery, you can feel moderate pain for some days. The pain occurs in areas of incision on your abdomen. The pain improves within a few days. Before leaving the hospital, your doctor offers a prescription of pain medications and antibiotics. Since you have the risk of suffering from infection after the surgery, follow guidelines suggested by the doctor to prevent it. Also, look for signs that indicate the presence of infection and go to the doctor immediately:

  • Swelling around the incision area
  • Redness of skin surrounding incision site
  • Fever (temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Constipation or diarrhea (lasting for more than two days)

Although there’s a small risk of infection, most people recover from appendicitis and an appendectomy with little difficulty. Full recovery from an appendectomy takes about four to six weeks. During this time, your doctor will probably recommend that you limit physical activity so your body can heal. You’ll need to attend a follow-up appointment with your doctor within two to three weeks after the appendectomy.

Home Remedies For Recovery After Appendectomy

You need time to heal after undergoing surgery to remove the appendix. It takes longer to heal if you have suffered appendix burst. After the procedure, you need to take care of and follow all the instructions provided by the doctor to ensure better healing. To help your body heal, you need to follow the steps suggested below:

Avoid Strenuous Activities

When your body is healing, avoid any strenuous activities. Depending on the type of appendectomy you undergo, you need to restrict your activities. For laparoscopic surgery, you need to take rest for three to five days. Open surgery to remove the appendix takes a longer time to heal. So, you need to wait for at least ten to fourteen days (two weeks) to resume your normal activities. Refrain from lifting heavy objects during the healing period. Before you start with your routine, you need to get the green signal from your doctor. Therefore, get back to your normal routine only after consulting with your doctor.

Support Abdomen

After the surgery, you have to take care not to put pressure on your abdomen. So, you need support when you move, cough, sneeze or laugh. The best way to keep pressure off the abdomen is to place a pillow over your abdominal region. Before you laugh, cough or sneeze apply pressure on the pillow. It reduces pain and discomfort.

Manage Pain

Pain can trigger a negative reaction in your body. It puts stress on your body and affects wound healing adversely. So, to prevent the slowing of the healing process, you need to manage pain. If you feel pain after taking pain medication, discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor can suggest stronger doses or change the prescription for better pain management.

Start Slow

Never rush your body. You need to start slow and take it easy. Increase your activity gradually and ease into it. Your body must feel up to completing the task. So, instead of putting pressure on your body, take it slow. Start with short walks and gradually increase your pace.

Get Rest

Your body is working tirelessly to heal faster. So, you may feel exhausted or sleepy. Never ignore the signs your body sends. Therefore, listen to your body and get rest. Sleep when you feel as it will help to heal.

Avoid Infection

While you heal, try to take steps to prevent infection. It is important to protect the surgical wound from getting infected to prevent complications. So, follow the pointer suggested:

  • Wash your hand with warm water and soap before you touch any area close to the incision. It prevents the transfer of bacteria present on your hands and finger on the wound site.
  • You have to follow the instruction offered by the medical team regarding bath. In most of the cases, the surgeon asks you to refrain from showering for at least two days after the surgery. It is to avoid incision from becoming wet and triggering infection.
  • Check the bandages for signs of infection when you change the dressing. With infection, you can see redness, pain, and the presence of foul-smelling drainage at the incision site. When you see such signs, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing that prevents air circulation. It can rub against your incision and cause discomfort. It can also increase sweating, leading to an increased risk of infection.

Alternative Medicine For Recovering From Appendectomy

The doctor performing appendix removal surgery will prescribe pain medication to control pain and discomfort after the procedure. You have some complementary treatments available to ease the pain. You can use it in combination with medications to control your agony and uneasiness. Talk to your doctor about safe options like:

Distracting Activities

Certain activities can distract you from feeling pain. It can take your mind off the pain and make you feel comfortable. You can listen to your favorite music or talk to people you love. The distraction techniques are effective in children undergoing appendix removal surgery.

Guided Imagery

It is a cognitive-behavioral technique. You need to close your eyes and think about your favorite place or event. A therapist guides you to relaxing scenes or experiences that offer you comfort. So, you can manage your pain.


Appendectomy is a simple procedure without too many complications. When you suffer from appendicitis, the surgery to remove the appendix prevents any complication. With early diagnosis and treatment, you can prevent appendix rupture. So, never ignore abdominal pain or other symptoms associated with the problem.

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