Appendicitis is a medical condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the appendix. Appendix is a finger-like pouch that is located at the ileocecal junction, which is the meeting point of the ileum (end of the small intestine) and the cecum (beginning of the large intestine). The appendix is believed to be a non-functional vestigial organ. However, inflammation of appendix can give rise to distressing symptoms. Appendicitis may even turn into a life-threatening situation in event of rupturing of the appendix which is why surgical removal of the appendix must be performed as soon as possible.
Surgery is believed to be a necessity, if one develops an inflamed appendix. The main aim of the surgical removal of appendix is to prevent the complications of a ruptured appendix. If appendicitis is diagnosed at a later stage, the risk of rupturing of the appendix increases considerably. If the appendix ruptures before or during the surgery, the patient may have to stay hospitalized for a longer duration of time. Given below is some information on ruptured appendix surgery along with the complications associated with this surgical procedure.
Surgery for Ruptured Appendix
The surgical removal of the appendix is medically referred to as appendectomy. The surgeons may either perform an open appendectomy or use the minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure in order to separate the inflamed appendix. Both of these procedures are performed after the administration of anesthesia.
An open appendectomy is performed by making a large incision in the lower-right quadrant of the abdomen. Since the appendix extends from the cecum, the surgeons have to locate it and separate it from the cecum. It is then removed from the cecum. This is followed by sealing off the cecum. Sometimes, the surgeons may invert the stump towards the cecum before they place it back to its original position. After that, the muscle layers as well as skin is sutured.
In case of a laparoscopic surgery, a laparoscope is inserted through a tiny incision in the abdominal wall. The laparoscope has a tiny camera attached to it, and thus, surgeons get a view of the insides of the abdomen on the video monitor. Once the surgeons locate the appendix and cecum with the help of these visuals, surgical instruments are inserted through tiny incisions to remove the inflamed appendix. The muscle layers and skin are then sutured.
Though the minimally invasive laparoscopic appendectomy does lower the risks, an open appendectomy is considered to be a better option for patients with a ruptured appendix. If the appendix develops an abscess or ruptures, it may give rise to a generalized infection in the abdomen. Sepsis is one of the most serious complications that is associated with a ruptured appendix. If the appendix has ruptured, then the material that may have spilled from the ruptured appendix has to be flushed out during the surgery. Sterile warm water is used to clean the abdomen thoroughly and a tube may be inserted in order to drain the infected fluids.
Complications Associated with Appendix Surgery
Unlike a laparoscopic appendectomy, wherein tiny incisions are made, an open appendectomy surgery involves making a big incision, and thus, there is considerable scarring. Thus, the time taken by the patient to recover from an open appendectomy is likely to be longer than that of a patient who has undergone a laparoscopic appendectomy. The intensity of postoperative pain would be more for the same reason. The high incidence of complications during or post ruptured appendix surgery is associated with the complicated nature of the surgery. Since rupturing of the appendix puts the patient at an increased risk of developing peritonitis or life-threatening sepsis, the surgeons have to make sure that pus or infected fluid is removed completely. As is the case with any surgery, the risk of superficial wound infection and bleeding cannot be ruled out.
Complications may arise due to administration of anesthesia. Unlike laparoscopic appendectomy, wherein the hospital stay is shorter, a patient who has undergone an open appendectomy for a ruptured appendix, may have to stay hospitalized for a longer period. The risk of infection is very high which is why the patient would have to take antibiotics for some time. Since the appendix is a part of the digestive tract, the bowel movements may take some time to regularize. It is therefore, advisable to follow a soft diet post surgery. Resuming with a regular diet soon after the surgery can burden the digestive system, and cause problems. Noncompliance of appendectomy after care measures by the patient may slow down the healing process can pose risks and the patient must ensure that he/she follows the guidelines given by the surgeons. There is a great need to take rest and refrain from indulging in any strenuous activity during the recovery period. One must never skip the scheduled follow-up visits post surgery.
A ruptured appendix is a life-threatening condition which is why the risks associated with this surgery are considerably higher. However, those who comply with the guidelines given by the doctors religiously will certainly recover soon and be able to lead a normal life thereafter. One must also make the necessary lifestyle-related changes to prevent such health problems in future.