A laparoscopic appendectomy is done by making one to three tiny cuts along the lower, right-hand side of your belly or abdomen. This method is less invasive than an open appendectomy. A long, thin tube called a laparoscope is inserted into one of the incisions. It has a video camera and surgical tools. The surgeon observes a monitor to see inside your abdomen and perform the procedure. The appendix is removed through one of the incisions.
Also Known As
Typical Recovery Time
Weeks to Months
About the Surgery
What kind of outcome is typical for a laparoscopic appendectomy?
A laparoscopic appendectomy typically involves a shorter hospital stay, shorter recovery time, and lower infection rates than an open appendectomy. The surgery should relieve pain, stop infection, and avoid a burst or ruptured appendix.
What are the risks of not having a laparoscopic appendectomy?
If you need a laparoscopic appendectomy and you don’t have it, you risk having your appendix burst or rupture and a severe, life-threatening infection called peritonitis.
What are the alternatives to a laparoscopic appendectomy?
Appendicitis is a medical emergency, and in most cases, a laparoscopic appendectomy is an emergency surgery. Alternatives include an open appendectomy, which is more invasive and increases the risk of complications.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
What are possible side effects and complications of a laparoscopic appendectomy?
While they’re rare, potential complications include bleeding; infection at the incision point; inflammation of the abdominal wall; adverse reaction to the anesthesia; and a blood clot that travels to your heart or brain causing a heart attack or stroke (very rare).
How safe is a laparoscopic appendectomy?
Laparoscopic appendectomy is a relatively safe procedure, and potential complications are rare. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
How do I know if a laparoscopic appendectomy is right for me?
You might be a good candidate for laparoscopic appendectomy if you are suffering from appendicitis, but your appendix hasn’t burst, no abscess is detected, and the infection hasn’t spread.
Do I have options for anesthesia for laparoscopic appendectomy surgery?
General anesthesia is most common for this procedure.
What issue does laparoscopic appendectomy solve?
A laparoscopic appendectomy is performed to remove your appendix after you show symptoms of appendicitis. Appendicitis is a medical emergency, when your appendix becomes sore, swollen, and infected. There is a risk your appendix may burst or rupture as soon as 48 to 72 hours after symptoms appear. This can cause a severe, life-threatening infection called peritonitis.
How is laparoscopic appendectomy done?
During laparoscopy, you’re lying down in a slightly tilted position, with your head lower than your feet. Several small incisions are made near the navel. Air is inserted to inflate the abdomen, making the organs easier to view. The appendix is then removed through one of the incisions.
Choosing a Surgeon
What happens if my symptoms get worse while I wait for a laparoscopic appendectomy?
Your surgical team will evaluate the situation and help you make a choice that’s right for you and your health. If your symptoms get worse, you will likely need an open appendectomy.
Why might I have to wait to have a laparoscopic appendectomy?
If you are suffering from appendicitis, you will need surgery immediately and you will not need to wait.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we will work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Do I have to get a second or third opinion for an appendectomy?
Because appendicitis is a medical emergency, there is not enough time for a second or third opinion.
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon about laparoscopic appendectomy surgery?
Appendectomy is typically an emergent surgery that doesn’t require prior approval.
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?
It takes about an hour for general anesthesia to wear off, but you may notice the effects for a day or so.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who get you checked in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible.
Will I need someone to take me home after a laparoscopic appendectomy?
For your safety and the safety of other motorists, you should not drive for 24 hours after laparoscopic surgery. If you don’t have a ride, we’ll help you arrange one.
What should I expect right before a laparoscopic appendectomy?
- You’ll arrive several hours before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.
- You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.)
- You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.
- Your healthcare team might need to do a few tests to gather information about your health before your surgery. These may include cytology slides, lab work, pathology report, tissue specimens, and X-rays.
- You’ll meet your anesthesiologist and the members of your surgery team. They will mark the location of your surgery on your body.
- An I.V. (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm, so medications—including general anesthesia—can be administered. If you’re using a different kind of anesthesia, you’ll receive an injection.
- When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
How long will I be in the hospital after a laparoscopic appendectomy?
Most laparoscopic surgery is outpatient, and you will be released within a few hours after the completion of your surgery.
How long will I be under for a laparoscopic appendectomy?
You will be anesthetized during the entire procedure and a few minutes afterward.
How long will the laparoscopic appendectomy take?
Laparoscopic appendectomy typically takes around one hour.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated.
What will happen during a laparoscopic appendectomy?
You’ll breathe oxygen through a mask and your team will track your vital signs as the surgery is performed.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after a laparoscopic appendectomy?
You may be prescribed pain medication and/or other symptom-reducing medications.
How soon after laparoscopic appendectomy surgery can I eat or drink?
You may not be able to eat or drink right away and you may be asked to follow a clear fluid diet for one to three days. After that, you may return to solid foods—but easy-to-digest items, including soups, pudding, and yogurt, are recommended.
Will I receive pain medication right after a laparoscopic appendectomy?
In most cases, patients receive pain medication immediately following surgery.
How soon after laparoscopic surgery will I be up and moving around?
You should plan to limit your activity for three to five days following your procedure, however you are able to slowly increase your activity starting with short walks as you feel up to it.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after surgery?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.
How will I know if the laparoscopic appendectomy worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you.
What can I expect right after a laparoscopic appendectomy?
After surgery, you’ll move to the recovery room and, as you start to regain feeling in your body, you’ll receive pain medication. After leaving the recovery room, you’ll be taken to your hospital room where you will be able to see friends or family who came with you.
Insurance & Costs
What are payment options like for a laparoscopy appendectomy at Hancock Health?
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Will Medicare cover a laparoscopic appendectomy?
Medicare parts A and B will cover the cost of laparoscopic surgery, but it’s important for your doctor to indicate that the surgery is medically necessary.
Will insurance cover a laparoscopic appendectomy?
In most cases, insurance will cover most of the costs associated with laparoscopic appendectomy. To obtain an estimate of your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
How much does a laparoscopic appendectomy cost?
Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much a laparoscopic appendectomy might cost.
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