Appendicectomy (child)

What is appendicitis?

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

Appendicectomy for children

What are the benefits of an appendicectomy?

An appendicectomy removes the inflamed appendix and allows infected pus to be washed out. The aim of surgery is to make your child better and to prevent the serious complications appendicitis can cause.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If your child has severe appendicitis, there is no alternative to surgery.

Your surgeon may recommend a course of antibiotics to help an inflamed appendix to settle. Your child may still need an appendicectomy and this will usually be arranged up to three months later. If your child has an abscess, your surgeon may need to perform an operation to remove the pus. Your child may still need an appendicectomy and this will usually be arranged up to three months later.

What does the operation involve?

Your child will need a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between one and two hours.

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
  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Unsightly scarring

Specific complications of this operation:

a. Laparoscopic complications

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
  • Surgical emphysema

b. Appendicectomy complications

  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Developing an abscess
  • Vomiting
  • Developing a leak or an abnormal connection to the skin
  • Developing a leak into the abdominal cavity
  • Obstruction of the bowel
  • Pylephlebitis

How soon will my child recover?

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

Your child should be able to return to school after about two weeks. Your child can return to normal activities as soon as they feel comfortable. This may take up to six weeks.

Appendicectomy Summary

Appendicitis is where the appendix becomes inflamed. Surgery is the only dependable way to prevent the serious complications appendicitis can cause.

Paying for the operation

Appendicectomy costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. 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.

Copyright © 2008 EIDO Healthcare Limited   The operation and treatment information on this website is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare.

The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited.

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.

Acknowledgements

Author: Mr Jonathan Sutcliffe FRCS and Mr Shailinder Singh FRCS (Paed. Surg.)

Illustrations: LifeART image copyright 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

All rights reserved.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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