WHAT IS THE APPENDIX?
The appendix is a long narrow tube (a few cms in length) that attaches to the first part of the colon. It is usually located in the lower right quadrant of the abdominal cavity.
WHAT IS A LAPAROSCOPIC APPENDECTOMY?
Appendicitis is one of the most common surgical problems. One out of every 2,000 people has an appendectomy sometime during their lifetime. Treatment requires an operation to remove the infected appendix. Traditionally, the appendix is removed through an incision in the right lower abdominal wall.
In most laparoscopic appendectomies, surgeons operate through 3 small incisions (each 0.5 to 1.2 cm) while watching an enlarged image of the patient’s internal organs on a television monitor. In some cases, one of the small openings may be lengthened to complete the procedure.
ADVANTAGES OF LAPAROSCOPIC APPENDECTOMY
Results may vary depending upon the type of procedure and patient’s overall condition. Common advantages are:
- Less postoperative pain
- May shorten hospital stay
- May result in a quicker return to bowel function
- Quicker return to normal activity
- Better cosmetic results
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OPERATION CANNOT BE PERFORMED OR COMPLETED BY THE LAPAROSCOPIC METHOD?
In a small number of patients, the laparoscopic method is not feasible because of the inability to visualize or handle the organs effectively. If your surgeon feels that it is safest to convert the laparoscopic procedure to an open one, this is not a complication, but rather sound surgical judgment. Factors that may increase the possibility of converting to the “open” procedure may include:
- Extensive infection and/or abscess
- A perforated appendix
- A history of prior abdominal surgery causing dense scar tissue
- Inability to visualize organs
- Bleeding problems during the operation