What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis means inflammation of the appendix (see figure 1). When the appendix is inflamed it causes pain and makes you feel unwell.


What are the benefits of surgery?

You will no longer get appendicitis. Surgery should prevent you from having serious complications that appendicitis can cause.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Antibiotics can be used to treat inflammation or an abscess, but only if you are well enough. If an abscess continues or if you become unwell even with antibiotics, you will need an operation.

What does the operation involve?

An appendicectomy is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between half an hour and an hour.

Your surgeon will remove the appendix either by using the laparoscopic (‘keyhole’) technique or by an open cut in the abdomen.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)

Specific complications of this operation:

  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Developing an abscess
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Vomiting
  • Developing a leak
  • Obstruction of the bowel
  • Pylephlebitis

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home three to five days after an operation for simple appendicitis or about a week following a burst appendix.

You should be able to return to work after about four weeks, depending on the extent of surgery and your type of work.

Appendicectomy Summary

Appendicitis is a common condition where the appendix becomes inflamed. Surgery should prevent you from having serious complications that appendicitis can cause.

Paying for your procedure

Appendicectomy costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own procedure the cost will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the procedure. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

Acknowledgements Author: Mr Ayan Banerjea MRCS and Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.) Copyright © 2009 Nucleus Medical Art. This information is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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