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The appendix produces a bacteria destroying protein called immunoglobulins which help fight infection in the body. Its function, however, is not essential. People who have had appendectomies do not have an increased risk toward infection. Other organs in the body take over this function once the appendix has been removed.
Appendicitis is one of the most common surgical problems. One out of every 2,000 people has an appendectomy sometime during their lifetime. Treatment requires an operation to remove the infected appendix. Traditionally, the appendix is removed through an incision in the right lower abdominal wall.
In most laparoscopic appendectomies, Dr. Toomari operates through 3 small incisions (each 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch) while watching an enlarged image of the patient's internal organs on a television monitor. In some cases, one of the small openings may be lengthened to 2 or 3 inches to complete the procedure.
Results may vary depending upon the type of procedure and patient's overall condition. Common advantages are:
Although laparoscopic appendectomy has many benefits, it may not be appropriate for some patients. Early, non-ruptured appendicitis usually can be removed laparoscopically. Laparoscopic appendectomy is more difficult to perform if there is advanced infection or the appendix has ruptured. A traditional, open procedure using a larger incision may be required to safely remove the infected appendix in these patients.
The words "laparoscopic" and "open" appendectomy describes the techniques a surgeon uses to gain access to the internal surgery site.
Most laparoscopic appendectomies start the same way. Using a cannula (a narrow tube-like instrument), Dr. Toomari enters the abdomen. A laparoscope (a tiny telescope connected to a video camera) is inserted through a cannula, giving the surgeon a magnified view of the patient's internal organs on a television monitor. Several other cannulas are inserted to allow the surgeon to work inside and remove the appendix. The entire procedure may be completed through the cannulas or by lengthening one of the small cannula incisions. A drain may be placed during the procedure. This will be removed at a later time.
After the operation, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions. Although many people feel better in just a few days, remember that your body needs time to heal.
As with any operation, there are risks including the risk of complications. However, the risk of one of these complications occurring is no higher than if the operation was done with the open technique. The most frequent complications of any operation are bleeding and infection. There is a small risk of other complications that include, but are not limited to, injury to the abdominal organs, intestines, urinary bladder or blood vessels. Additional risks can include allergic reactions to medications, blood clots, heart attacks, pneumonia, stroke, and even death.
It is important for you to recognize the early signs of possible complications. Contact your surgeon if you have severe abdominal pain, fever, chills or rectal bleeding.
In a small number of patients the laparoscopic method is not feasible because of the inability to visualize or handle the organs effectively. The decision to perform the open procedure is a judgment decision made by Dr. Toomari either before or during the actual operation. When Dr. Toomari feels that it is safest to convert the laparoscopic procedure to an open one, this is not a complication, but rather sound surgical judgment. The decision to convert to an open procedure is strictly based on patient safety.
Factors that may increase the possibility of converting to the "open" procedure may include:
Be sure to call your physician or Dr. Toomari if you develop any of the following: