Appendicitis (cont.)

How Is Appendicitis Treated?

Surgery to remove the appendix, which is called an appendectomy, is the standard treatment for appendicitis.

If appendicitis is even suspected, doctors tend to err on the side of safety and quickly remove the appendix to avoid its rupture. If the appendix has formed an abscess, you may have two procedures: one to drain the abscess of pus and fluid, and a later one to remove the appendix.

Antibiotics are given before an appendectomy to fight possible peritonitis. General anesthesia is usually given, and the appendix is removed through a 4-inch incision or by laparoscopy. If you have peritonitis, the abdomen is also irrigated and drained of pus.

Within 12 hours of surgery you may get up and move around. You can usually return to normal activities in 2 to 3 weeks. If surgery is done with a laparoscope (a thin telescope-like instrument for viewing inside the abdomen), the incision is smaller and recovery is faster.

After an appendectomy, call your doctor if you have:

  • Uncontrolled vomiting.
  • Increased pain in your abdomen.
  • dizziness/feelings of faintness.
  • Blood in your vomit or urine.
  • Increased pain and redness in your incision.
  • Fever.
  • Pus in the wound.

Can Appendicitis Be Prevented?

There is no way to prevent appendicitis. However, appendicitis is less common in people who eat foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Reviewed by The Cleveland Clinic Department of Gastroenterology.
Edited by Louise Chang, MD, WebMD, November 2005.

Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2005


Last Editorial Review: 2/7/2006



STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!