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Laparoscopic Appendectomy: What to Expect

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Prior to Surgery

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications/vitamins/herbs you are taking as you may need to stop certain ones before surgery.
  • Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners one week prior to surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have
  • The day before surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • You will stay in the hospital up to one day, depending on your surgeon's instructions.
  • You may experience some nausea and vomiting after surgery since the procedure was done in your abdominal region. You will be encouraged to sip liquids to reduce these sensations.
  • Walking is encouraged, based on your energy level.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Most patients will be fully recovered in one to two weeks and can resume some normal activities, such as driving, walking and some duties at work; however, do not lift, push or pull any heavy objects until you are cleared by your surgeon.

Alternative Names
Appendix removal; appendix surgery

Laparoscopic Appendectomy Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

Three incisions are made while the patient is under general anesthesia. A tiny camera is inserted to visualize and magnify the organs. The appendix is removed thr ough one of the three tiny incisions.

How many incisions are made?

Three tiny incisions are made in the lower right abdomen.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

In most cases, patients stay no more than a day. In some cases, patients may be discharged the same day.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients are fully recovered within one to two weeks.

What reasons would the surgeon have to perform an open surgery instead of a minimally invasive procedure?

The surgeon may recommend an open procedure due to a patient’s weight or history of prior abdominal surgery that has left scar tissue, making visualization of organs with the camera more difficult.

What are the risks of waiting to have my appendix removed?

Since the appendix is infected, it needs to be removed to ensure that the organ does not rupture. Early, non-ruptured appendix usually can be removed laparoscopically, but if the infection has advanced, it is more difficult to use this minimally invasive surgery. In these cases, the surgeon may recommend that you have an open procedure. A ruptured appendix is a life-threatening emergency, so patients should not wait to have surgery.

WakeMed has many board-certified general surgeons who perform laparoscopic appendix removal. Find a WakeMed surgeon.