Appendectomy: What to Expect

Dec 13, 2022
Appendectomy: What to Expect
You need an appendectomy if your appendix is inflamed. It’s important to understand how to recognize symptoms, how we perform appendectomies, and the importance of aftercare. These strategies reduce hospital stays and speed recovery after surgery.

The need for an appendectomy affects more than 300,000 Americans annually, making it one of the most frequent urgent medical operations today. Appendicitis usually occurs very suddenly. You or your child may experience abdominal pain and severe sensitivity to touch in the lower right abdomen. Common side effects are loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

The appendectomy is usually an unplanned intervention in acute inflammation. During the operation, our team of board-certified surgeons removes the appendix completely. 

At Lenox Hill Surgeons, LLP in Manhattan's Lenox Hill neighborhood, our experienced team performs appendectomies with cutting-edge laparoscopic techniques. In most cases, acute appendicitis is a rapidly progressing, inflammatory reaction that can lead to serious, life-threatening complications. 

Preparation for appendectomy 

Preparing for an appendectomy is challenging because appendicitis strikes suddenly. There are exceptions to the general rule that you can’t eat or drink anything before surgery. We still perform surgery in an emergency, but you shouldn't eat or drink anything if you must stay in the hospital.

After being admitted to the hospital, the doctor walks you through what to do and what to expect. An appendectomy is always performed under general anesthesia, with artificial respiration through a tube (intubation). 

Even if you’re admitted for emergency surgery, the doctor briefly explains the operation beforehand. An anesthetist will also explain the anesthesia before surgery.

Laparoscopic procedure and follow-up care

The doctors at Lenox Hill Surgeons, LLP perform robot-assisted surgery with the da Vinci® system, a laparoscopic surgery tool. 

An optical device with a camera is inserted into the abdominal cavity through a small incision in the navel area. For a better overview, carbon dioxide “inflates” the abdomen, so the doctor can more easily see the appendix and other organs. 

The surgeon inserts the laparoscope into the abdominal cavity via another small skin incision in the right lower abdomen. The appendix is removed and stitched up. Finally, your doctor removes the laparoscope and tools from the abdominal cavity, releases the gas, and sutures the skin incisions.

Moving after an appendectomy

After the operation, you can still be exhausted and weak. However, many people immediately notice that the severe pain in their abdomen has disappeared. You can get out of bed as soon as your circulation is strong enough so that you don’t feel dizzy, usually within a few hours.

A nurse will help you with your first steps to ensure you feel strong enough to walk independently. Laparoscopic appendectomy can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Upon discharge from the recovery room, you can go home to rest. We provide pain medicine as needed. 

Eating after an appendectomy

Patients recover very quickly from a laparoscopic appendectomy. Several hours after surgery, you may be able to drink liquids. Then, you can slowly add more solid foods.

Playing sports after an appendectomy

Typically, you can move in any way that feels good and doesn’t cause pain.

Rotating movements in the torso often hurt for a while, and you should avoid strong, jerky strains on the abdominal muscles, like with sit-ups. Otherwise, it helps to pay attention to your body's signals since individual recovery can vary greatly. 

Showering after an appendectomy

You can remove bandages and shower 24 hours after the operation unless expressly instructed otherwise. Skin wounds heal better if you keep them clean and dry. Call our office for advice if you discover reddened skin and swelling that hurts a few days after the operation. 

Anything that softens the scar tissue, such as swimming, bathing, and saunas, should be postponed until the scabs have fallen off and the wounds are securely closed.

When you need an appendectomy

The da Vinci robotic technique offers the highest degree of surgical accuracy and gives our specialists a wider range of motion than natural human hands. Laparoscopic appendectomies have less blood loss, scarring, and discomfort than open surgery. These methods also result in a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to your regular activities following surgery.

An appendectomy has a long history of producing outstanding outcomes and is a safe treatment. Thanks to the most skilled surgeons and innovative technology, Lenox Hill Surgeons, LLP can guarantee the safest surgery with the quickest recovery. Contact the office or use the online scheduler to make an appointment right away.