STEEPLECHASE CANCER CENTER
30 Rehill Avenue, Suite 3400
Somerville, NJ 08876
Phone: (908) 725-2400
Fax: (908) 927-8990
Monday - Friday
9:00am - 4:30pm
Open appendectomy is the traditional method for appendicitis. The surgeon makes an incision in the lower right abdomen, pulls the appendix through the incision, ties it off at its base, and removes it. Care is taken to avoid spilling purulent material (pus) from the appendix while it is being removed. The incision is then sutured closed.
If the appendix has perforated (ruptured), the surgeon cleans the pus out of the abdomen with a warm saline solution to reduce the risk for infection. A drain may be inserted to allow the pus to drain from the abdomen. In this case, the skin may be left open and packed with sterile gauze. The gauze and drain remain in place until the pus is completely drained and there is no sign of infection.
If the abdomen is so inflamed that the surgeon cannot see the appendix, the infection is drained and treated with antibiotics, and then the appendix is removed.
This method has been used for over a decade. The procedure has several advantages including lower risk for postoperative wound infection, faster recovery time, a smaller scar, and a shorter hospital stay.
The surgeon makes a very small incision right below the navel and inserts an instrument called a laparoscope. The laparoscope is a long tube with a lens at one end and a miniature video camera at the other. The laparoscope enables the doctor to see the appendix. Several more tiny incisions are made to allow for the passage of instruments, which are used to cut and clamp off the appendix.
The laparoscope is also used as a diagnostic tool. The doctor is able to see if the appendix is inflamed and, if the appendix is not the cause of the patient's symptoms, other organs can be seen in order to identify the source of the symptoms.