Laparoscopic Appendectomy

If you are suffering from a swollen and inflamed appendix, you may have acute appendicitis. Laparoscopic appendectomy surgery, also known as a lap appy or lap appendectomy, is a procedure that can be used to treat your condition.

Most people aren’t familiar with what their appendix is or where it is located. The appendix is a small tube-shaped pouch that is attached to the large intestine and is located in the right side of the lower stomach.

Acute appendicitis may occur when a piece of hard stool or food gets trapped in your appendix. When this happens, it can get blocked, swollen and filled with pus. If you do not seek medical treatment, your appendix may burst and cause a severe infection accompanied by excruciating abdominal pains.

How to Prepare for Laparoscopic Appendectomy

Initially, your physician will do a physical exam, during which time he will question you about your medical history. Your doctor will gently push different areas of your abdomen, trying to find the source of your pain. If there is just cause, he will order blood tests and possibly an abdominal X-ray or CT scan. If your physician feels your condition is critical, he may skip these tests and go straight to an emergency lap appendectomy.

Before your surgery begins, a medical assistant or nurse will place an IV line in your arm or hand so that you can easily receive medication and fluids. You will be given a general anesthesia, so be prepared to be unconscious during the lap appy.

How Is Laparoscopic Appendectomy Performed?

There are two types of laparoscopic appendectomy surgical procedures. Based on the severity of your infection, your medical history and other factors, your doctor will decide which of the two are best for you.

The first of the two procedures is the open appendectomy. During this type of surgery, a surgeon cuts one incision into the right portion of your lower abdomen. He will remove your appendix and then close the wound.

You doctor may choose this route instead of a laparoscopic appendectomy if you have an extensive infection, are obese, have bleeding issues during the operation, have a perforated appendix or have a history of previous abdominal surgery.

The second type of surgical procedure is the laparoscopic appendectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon will make several small incisions in your abdomen to gain access to your appendix. Using narrow instruments that look like tubes, the surgeon will operate on the organ. One of the tubes has a camera in it, which gives the surgeon the ability to see inside you and maneuver the instruments. Once your appendix is removed, the surgeon will clean, close and dress the small incisions.

Lap appendectomy carries a considerably lower risk of infection because the incisions made are much smaller.

Possible Risks and Complications of Laparoscopic Appendectomy

Like any type of surgery, some complications are possible. Complications associated with a lap appy include issues such as bowel obstruction and wound infection. Also, peritonitis may occur if your appendix ruptures during your surgery. This causes your abdomen to become inflamed.

These are just a few risks and complications that are possible. Your doctor and surgeon can give you more detailed information before your procedure.

On another note, other complications can occur when a surgeon is not thoroughly trained in laparoscopy procedures. There is a chance of bleeding, visceral injury, missed diagnosis, an incomplete appendectomy, a hernia, intra-abdominal abscess or possible leakage from appendix at the time of surgery.

However, it is important to know that any of these complications are very rare and laparoscopic surgery is much less complicated than conventional methods.

Is Everyone Suitable for Laparoscopic Appendectomy?

Every patient will be evaluated to see if they qualify for a laparoscopic appendectomy. Individuals with certain conditions or of a specific age group are not good candidates.

For example, the elderly are at a greater risk of complications associated with general anesthesia. Surgeons have a harder time performing the procedure on obese patients or those who have undergone lower abdominal surgery in the past. Also, patients with pre-existing disease conditions are often considered bad candidates for a lap appy. The same goes with individuals with COPD and cardiac diseases.

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