Appendectomy (cont.)

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How do I prepare for an appendectomy?

The majority of appendectomy operations are typically emergency surgeries so the patient needs to follow the instructions given by the surgeon. In general, the patient is advised not to eat food or take any medicines (for example, aspirin) that may affect blood clotting before surgery. The patient may be treated with medications to reduce or eliminate nausea and vomiting; IV antibiotics may also be initiated before surgery.

How is an appendectomy performed?

Appendectomy is most often done in the operating room after the patient's skin has been shaved to remove hair and swabbed with a germ killing solution; sterility precautions are taken to prevent infection. The appendix may be removed by an open method or the laparoscopic technique. The open method requires a 2 to 3 inch incision in the lower right–hand side of the abdomen to remove the appendix, while the laparoscopic method uses several small incisions in the abdomen and the use of a laparoscope to visualize and then remove the appendix.

What is the recovery time for an appendectomy?

The recovery time for an appendectomy is variable and depends on the type of the procedure, type of anesthesia, and any complications that may have developed. For example, laparoscopic appendectomy may be done on an outpatient basis so that the patient can be discharged to recover at home, while an open method may require an overnight stay or an even longer time to be discharged to go home. Normal activities can resume in a few days but full recovery may take 4 to 6 weeks during which time strenuous activity should be avoided.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/4/2014

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