Appendicitis treatment usually involves surgery to remove the inflamed appendix. Before surgery you may be given a dose of antibiotics to prevent infection.
Surgery to remove the appendix (appendectomy)
Appendectomy can be performed as open surgery using one abdominal incision about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) long (laparotomy). Or the surgery can be done through a few small abdominal incisions (laparoscopic surgery). During a laparoscopic appendectomy, the surgeon inserts special surgical tools and a video camera into your abdomen to remove your appendix.
In general, laparoscopic surgery allows you to recover faster and heal with less pain and scarring. It may be better for people who are elderly or obese. But laparoscopic surgery isn't appropriate for everyone. If your appendix has ruptured and infection has spread beyond the appendix or you have an abscess, you may need an open appendectomy, which allows your surgeon to clean the abdominal cavity.
Expect to spend one or two days in the hospital after your appendectomy.
Draining an abscess before appendix surgery
If your appendix has burst and an abscess has formed around it, the abscess may be drained by placing a tube through your skin into the abscess. Appendectomy can be performed several weeks later after controlling the infection.
Aug. 20, 2014
- Appendicitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/appendicitis/. Accessed May 31, 2014.
- Martin RF. Acute appendicitis in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 31, 2014.
- Smink D, et al. Acute appendicitis in adults: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 31, 2014.
- Appendectomy: Surgical removal of the appendix. American College of Surgeons. http://search2.facs.org/search?q=appendectomy&sa=Search&site=my_collection&client=my_collection&proxystylesheet=my_collection&output=xml_no_dtd. Accessed May 31, 2014.