Appendicitis is one of the most common health issues that requires surgical intervention. In fact, doctors perform about 750,000 surgeries on the appendix every year, so you probably know at least one person who has had their appendix removed or operated on. Below, we take a closer look at how the organ is removed using minimally invasive techniques.
Minimally Invasive Appendectomy
Like many types of surgeries, appendix removal has gotten much smaller and safer over the years. Gone are the days of traditional open surgery, and although the technique is still used in certain circumstances, the minimally invasive removal technique has become the industry standard. With the old technique, doctors would make a larger incision, about a foot in length, in order to access the organ and safely remove it. With the minimally invasive technique, only a couple incisions smaller than an inch need to be made.
Once the three incisions are made above the appendix, the surgeon inserts a laparoscope, which is a tiny tube with a microscopic camera attached to the tip. The camera relays a live video feed onto a screen in the operating room so the doctor can visualize the appendix without creating a large incision. Once in place, the surgeon carefully works to detach the appendix from the colon. The appendix is then removed through the small incisions, which are then closed before the patient is sent off to a recovery ward.
The benefits of minimally invasive appendix removal are numerous. As we mentioned above, the incisions that need to be made on the patient are much smaller in length, which aside from leaving smaller or invisible scars, also leads to lower levels of pain post-op. Other benefits include:
- Decreased risk of infection
- Reduced risk of bleeding or related complications
- Decreased recovery time
- Quicker return to normal bowel function
- Shorter surgical center stay
Shortly after surgery, you’ll be encouraged to get out of bed and walk around, as this can help to prevent the onset of blood clots. You may stay in the surgical center overnight or may be discharged the same day, but you’ll need another person with you in order to drive you home. Most patients can return to normal activities within one to two weeks. These activities including walking up and down stairs, driving, returning to work and engaging in sexual intercourse.
Dr. Koeplin has performed countless appendix removal operations for patients using both the minimally invasive and traditional open techniques. For more information on either technique, or to set up a surgical consultation, reach out to Dr. Koeplin’s office today.