Tags: appendix | appendectomy | laparoscopic surgery | risks | pain

Appendectomy: What Are the Risks?

Saturday, 08 Mar 2014 10:52 PM

Appendectomy is the surgery to remove an infected appendix. Appendix is a small vestigial organ at the end of the large intestine. Appendicitis is the condition of an infected and swollen appendix. Symptoms of appendicitis include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, swelling of the stomach and nausea. It can cause immense pain in the abdomen.
 
The appendix needs to be removed with an appendectomy if it becomes infected or swollen. If the infected appendix is not treated, it can burst or affect the whole abdomen and become life-threatening. The appendix is removed through an appendectomy to prevent further infection and inflammation. Nowadays, surgeons usually remove the appendix through an appendectomy procedure called the laparoscopic surgery. This laparoscopic surgery is performed using very small surgical cuts and a camera to guide the surgeon’s actions.
 
How Is an Appendectomy Performed?
 
An appendectomy can be done under two conditions:
  • Under general anesthesia
  • Using spinal anesthesia
In the case of general anesthesia, the patient is sedated to prevent pain that may arise during an appendectomy. In spinal anesthesia, the anesthetic is injected directly into the spine to numb the patient below the waist. In laparoscopic surgery, a small incision is made for inserting the laparoscope.
 
Carbon dioxide is introduced into the abdomen to visualize the appendix and other structures during the laparoscopic surgery. The appendix is located using a laparoscope and removed. After the completion of laparoscopic surgery, the laparoscope is removed. Skin incisions are closed using sutures or surgical staples, and a sterile bandage is applied after the laparoscopic surgery to heal the wound.   
 
What Are the Risks of an Appendectomy?
  
The usual risks associated with surgery like infection and bleeding are risks applicable to an appendectomy as well. Other risks associated with appendectomy include breathing problems and reactions to medicines. A ruptured appendix may also lead to risks of pus buildup, which may require draining the stomach area and a heavier course of antibiotics, with possible side effects from medicines and a longer stay in the hospital. Some complications and risks may also arise due to laparoscopic surgery.
 
Some common risks:
  • Removal of normal appendix
  • Blood clotting in lungs
  • Infection and bleeding
  • Leak at the edge of colon
  • Injury to adjacent organs
  • Collection of pus in appendix area
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Scarring
  • Reactions to medications
 
Bowel obstruction, wound infection, and peritonitis are some complicated risks that may arise after laparoscopic surgery. Before laparoscopic surgery, patients should ask their doctor about possible risks. Specific medical conditions can cause particular risks. Nevertheless, risks associated with laparoscopic surgery are much lower than the risks caused by an infected appendix.

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Appendectomy is a surgical procedure to remove an infected appendix that can be causing immense pain. Laparoscopic surgery is often used for this procedure. Patients are advised to discuss risks associated with surgery with the doctor.
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2014-52-08
Saturday, 08 Mar 2014 10:52 PM
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