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Appendectomy or removal of the appendix is one of the most common operations performed by general surgeons. Often required in an emergency setting, the appendectomy helps to prevent dangerous complications from an inflamed appendix. Dr. Buckminster Farrow, MD, provides expert appendectomy procedures to his patients, helping them get back to the things that they love with minimal recovery time at his offices in Houston and Katy, Texas.

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Q & A

What is an appendectomy?

An appendectomy is a surgery to prevent the development of dangerous and deadly consequences as a result of appendicitis. 

True to its name, an appendectomy is the removal of the appendix. The appendix is a small organ-shaped tube that extends from the intestine. While some scientists suspect that the appendix helps with gut immunity, you’re quite capable of living without it safely. 

However, when the appendix becomes inflamed, as in appendicitis, it can swell to the point of rupturing, causing severe infection in the abdomen. In order to avoid this, the appendix is removed when it becomes inflamed. 

What are the symptoms of appendicitis?

Since it can be a serious condition if left untreated, it’s important to recognize the warning signs of appendicitis. These include:

  • Pain occurring near your navel or elsewhere in the lower abdomen
  • Pain that becomes sharp as it travels to the lower right area of your abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

If you suspect that you or a loved one have appendicitis, it’s very important to seek medical care immediately, as complications can often occur if it’s left untreated. 

Rarely, an individual may have chronic appendicitis. While uncommon, people with chronic appendicitis may experience pain in the lower right section of their abdomen. The pain may come and go, and it is usually milder than acute appendicitis.

How is an appendectomy performed?

When appendicitis develops, the appendix is removed in order to prevent it from rupturing. This surgery is called an appendectomy, which is very common. Due to the unexpected nature of appendicitis, appendectomies are often performed in an emergency setting. 

As with many other surgeries, there are different ways to perform an appendectomy — either with open surgery or laparoscopically. While both surgeries remove the appendix, minimally invasive surgery has the advantage of an easier recovery since smaller incisions are made. Dr. Farrow is able to perform 99% of his appendectomies laparoscopically, allowing the fastest and most comfortable recovery possible.

What is the recovery like after an appendectomy?

If you’ve undergone laparoscopic surgery, you may be able to return home the same day. With more extensive infections, however, you’ll likely stay in the hospital at least one night in order to treat the infection with antibiotics. A drain is sometimes placed after surgery when there is more infection to prevent the formation of an abscess inside the abdomen. 

When you do return home, it’s important not to overdo activity, as your body needs adequate rest to heal. You’ll have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Farrow to ensure your recovery is progressing adequately, and so he can answer any questions you may have.

To learn more about appendectomy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Farrow online or by phone today.