Appendectomy is the surgery performed to remove an inflamed or infected appendix, so as to minimize the chances of rupture, whenever appendicitis is suspected. A patient undergoing an appendectomy is given general anesthesia, and thus does not feel any pain while it is being done. During the surgery, an incision is made in the lower right side area of the belly, and the inflamed appendix is removed. In a minimally invasive technique, called laparoscopic appendectomy (keyhole surgery), a tiny incision is made and a camera is used.
Appendectomy Recovery Time
The appendectomy recovery time is based on the age of a patient, his/her condition before surgery, complications occurring during surgery and other circumstances. Laparoscopic appendectomy recovery time is significantly shorter than the recovery time of open appendectomy. In the former, post operative pain may be for 12 hours, and hospitalization may be for few days. In the latter, post operative pain could last for 36 hours, while the patient may be hospitalized for one or two weeks.
The pace of recovery after an appendectomy is directly proportional to the patient's overall health. The time frame during which most care is to be given is usually between 10 and 28 days. Young children usually need care for a longer duration. Those who are 10 years and younger and may need three weeks to recover. Patients can expect to resume their normal activities about 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Cases in which the appendix has ruptured is very serious, and may call for longer surgery and extended recovery time. Good care during this period is of utmost importance and can result in a patient returning to normal life without having to make changes to their diet, exercise or lifestyle.
Appendectomy Recovery Care
To heal faster and reduce chances of complications during your appendectomy recovery period, take the following precautions:
- The golden rule after any surgery is to get as much rest as possible. During the first few weeks after surgery, you must avoid strenuous activities. If you have gone through a laparoscopic surgery, restrict your activity during the first three to five days after surgery. If you have had an open appendectomy, the time frame, for recovery, in this regard is the first 10 to 14 days after surgery. If you feel exceptionally well in a few days time, consult your doctor before you resume normal activity.
- An important step to hasten recovery is to support your abdomen every time you cough. During the appendectomy recovery time, you are likely to experience abdominal pain whenever you laugh, cough, or move. To support the area operated upon and minimize pain, place a pillow on your abdomen and gently apply pressure before you move.
- While recovering from any surgery, everyone encounters some amount of pain. However, if you experience excess pain it will hamper your progress. This kind of pain will increase the stress your body is under and may slow down the healing process. Thus, if you find that the pain is more than slight discomfort or persists despite prescribed pain medications, let your doctor know.
- Once you are further along your recovery period, and decide to resume work or return to school, ensure you are completely ready for the added stress. Kids who return to school in less than a week after surgery, should be careful not to exert themselves in sports or gym class, up to four weeks after surgery.
- One can start doing mild exercises such as walking after 1 week of laparoscopic surgery and 3 weeks of open surgery.
- Good nutrition is another very important factor, as you need to give your body all the help possible to rebuild and regenerate. Ensure that your diet is healthy and packed with immunity boosting vitamins. Supplements of beta-carotene or vitamin A, which promotes healthy scar tissue may be taken after consultation with your doctor. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and assists the healing of skin.
- Most importantly, follow your surgeon's instructions thoroughly to avoid post-surgery complications. Be regular with the followups.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.