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Laparoscopic Appendectomy 

Introduction
Laparoscopic appendectomy is an advanced minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to remove the appendix in people with appendicitis.  Your appendix is a small growth that extends off your large intestine.  Although the appendix has no known purpose, it can become inflamed, infected, or rupture.  Immediate surgery is necessary to remove the appendix to prevent infection and severe complications.  Laparoscopic appendectomy is the preferred surgical method because it uses only small incisions and is associated with a quick recovery time and few post-operative complications.

Traditional open surgical procedures for appendicitis require a larger incision to remove the appendix and explore the area.  Laparoscopic appendectomy is less invasive because it uses a laparoscope.  A laparoscope is a thin tube with a light and viewing instrument.  The laparoscope is inserted through a small incision and sends images to a monitor for viewing.  The images are used to guide the surgery.  Thin surgical instruments are inserted through a hollow tube in the laparoscope to remove the appendix.  Although several small incisions may be necessary to reposition the laparoscope during the procedure, the body does not need to be “opened,” as with traditional surgery methods.  Laparoscopic appendectomy results in less pain, few complications, and little scarring.  It requires a shorter hospital stay and has a faster recovery time than traditional open surgery methods.

Laparoscopic appendectomy may not be appropriate for all people.  People with heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, prior abdominal surgery, and certain diseases may not be good candidates for this procedure.  Your doctor will determine which surgical procedure is most appropriate for you.

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Treatment
Laparoscopic appendectomy is a short surgery, usually lasting only about 15-30 minutes.  General anesthesia is used.  Your surgeon will make several small incisions to insert the laparoscope and remove your appendix. 

People typically spend about 24 to 36 hours in the hospital following the surgery.  Because small incisions are used, you can expect less bleeding, pain, and scarring.  Laparoscopic appendectomy is associated with a lower risk of infection and fewer complications than traditional open surgical methods.  It also has a shorter recovery time.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.