Appendectomy: What you need to know?

The inflammation caused to the appendix is called as appendicitis. Appendix is the three and a half long tube like tissue which extends from large intestine. The exact use of appendix is not known and our body can function properly even if we remove it. The procedure of removing the appendicitis inflammation is called appendectomy. This surgery is performed in many medical centers in India with the help of advanced techniques and the best doctors.

How do I know that I need to undergo appendectomy?

Appendectomy is performed for removing the infection of appendix which makes it swollen and inflamed. This infection may be the result of the opening being clogged with stool or bacteria. The easiest and fastest way to treat this infection is the surgical removal of appendix. If you don’t remove it at the right time, this can lead to bursting of appendix. If it bursts, then bacteria and fecal particles spread in the abdomen and organ. This may cause serious infections like peritonitis or you may also have to face other dangerous problems.

So what are the symptoms of appendicitis which should be taken care of?

  • Sudden pain in the stomach, near the navel and belly button region
  • Pain in the lower side of abdomen
  • Swelling in abdomen
  • Rigidness in abdominal muscles
  • Pain while urinating
  • Problems while passing gas
  • Severe cramps in stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Nauseous feeling
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

Normally appendicitis pain can be felt in the right side lower region of abdomen, but in case of pregnant women, the pain is in the upper side of the abdomen. This is due to higher appendix in pregnancy period. If you are facing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Diagnosis of appendicitis

The diagnosis of appendicitis is a bit confusing as the symptoms are similar for ailments like bladder problems, urinary track infections, gastritis, gallbladder and ovary problems. But some tests can help to diagnose the problem accurately. These tests are as follows:

  • Abdominal Test: This test is performed to examine if there is any inflammation in the abdomen.
  • Urine test: This test is performed to check for any infections in urinary tract.
  • Rectal exam: This test is performed to check for problems in the organs and structure in pelvis and lower belly region.
  • Blood test: For checking if your body has immunity to fight any infections or not.
  • CT scan: This is performed to scan your abdomen completely by taking X-rays from different angles.
  • Ultrasound: This is done by transmitting high frequency sound waves through body tissues. This technique is used to create images of soft tissue structures in abdomen.

With the help of results obtained from these tests, your general physician will be able to detect and treat appendicitis.

Treatment of appendicitis

If you are suffering from appendicitis, then you need to remove it as soon as possible. You have to undergo appendectomy operation immediately. It is always safe to remove it surgically rather than taking any oral medications, in case your appendix raptures, it can cause serious problems. Also, the removal of appendix will not cause any future complications as your body doesn’t need it to perform any important functions.

There are two surgeries that are usually performed in appendectomy. Both the surgeries are performed under local anesthesia.

Keyhole Surgery

This surgery is also called as laparoscopy. It is used most of the times in removing  appendix from the body. This surgery takes less recovery time.

Following is the general procedure of operation

  • The surgery requires to make three to four incisions in your abdomen
  • Then a tube is used to pump gas in your abdomen to inflate it. This will help the surgeon to view appendix more clearly and also it creates room to work.
  • A small tube called laparoscope which has light and camera attached to its ends is inserted in the abdomen. The camera takes images which are transferred to the monitor attached.
  • Tiny surgical tools are used to remove the appendix from the stomach
  • The incisions are closed after removing the appendix with dissolvable or regular stitches. If regular stitches are used, you will have to again visit the hospital in seven to ten days.

Open Surgery

In some cases you may need to undergo Open surgery. This may be the case if your appendicitis has raptured and formed a lump called as appendix mass in the stomach. This procedure is also performed if you had open abdominal surgery earlier.

Following is the general procedure of this operation

  • A large single cut is made in the lower right hand side of abdomen for removing the appendix
  • If the peritonitis infection is spread on the inner wall of the abdomen, it is very essential to perform surgery by cutting the abdomen along the middle portion in a procedure called as laparotomy
  • The open surgery incision is also closed with either dissolvable or regular stitches
  • If regular stitches are used, they need to be removed after some days

In case of both the surgeries, post operation, the appendix which is removed is sent to a laboratory for checking the signs of cancer. This is just done as a precautionary measure.

Recovery Time

  • If you had undergone keyhole surgery, the recovery time is very short and in most cases you will be discharged from the hospital in just few days
  • If there are no complications, you can also leave the hospital in some hours after the operation
  • If you have undergone open or complicated surgery like in case of peritonitis, you may need almost one week to recover
  • During the first few days post operation, you will experience some bruising and pain in the abdomen. But this is a temporary condition and will be gone in some days. If more pain is felt, you can also take some prescribed painkillers.
  • If you have undergone keyhole surgery, then you will experience some pain in your shoulder tip for period of one week. This could be due to gas pumped in the abdomen during the operation.
  • You can also have short term constipation, this can be treated by taking some painkillers and eating food high in fibre content. Also try to stay hydrated.
  • Do not perform any vigorous physical activity till the wound is completely healed
  • Under normal circumstances, you can return to routine life and perform your normal activities in some weeks after the open surgery

Appendectomy cost

The cost of appendix surgery in India will depend on the hospital and type of surgery. In Government hospitals, it usually costs INR 5000. Private hospitals may charge you about INR 20,000. But if some complicated procedure is performed, like open surgery, then the cost will again vary.

Appendectomy is a common surgery in India. Many advanced techniques are used now a days, which minimize risk during the operation. All multispecialty hospitals have the provision of laparoscopy with specialized doctors. Complications may occur if you delay the operation, so it is always good to avoid the pain and serious problems of appendix by undergoing appendectomy as soon as possible.

About the Author: Pousali is an M.Phil in English literature and likes to explore genres related to arts and aesthetics. She is an ardent believer of the ‘learning, unlearning and relearning’ process. She loves to write articles on health related topics.

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