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What to Expect After an Appendectomy

What to Expect After an Appendectomy

You probably don’t think much about your appendix. But, this small organ that extends from your large intestine can become infected and potentially burst — a very serious complication. 

An appendectomy is necessary if your appendix becomes swollen or infected. You don’t want it leaking bacteria into your entire belly. An appendectomy is usually an emergency surgery, so you won’t have much time to prepare and research.

At Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, located in Jackson, Mississippi, the board-certified surgeons use both open and laparoscopic techniques to remove an infected appendix. The type of surgery you have depends on your particular case. Following the removal of your appendix, here’s what to expect during recovery.

Immediately after surgery

Most people go under general anesthesia for an appendectomy. Once your surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to the recovery room and monitored as you come out of sedation. When your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure are stable, you’re taken to a hospital room. 

If you had a laparoscopic appendectomy, you’ll get out of bed within a few hours of recovery to encourage circulation. You may be discharged the same day and sent home to recover.

An open surgery technique may require you to spend a few days in the hospital as your recovery is a little more extensive due to larger incisions. You will be encouraged to get up and move around the day following open surgery. 

Your nurses and doctors provide you with pain medication as needed. Depending on your recovery and how you feel, you may be offered liquids just a few hours after your surgery. 

Home recovery from an appendectomy

Once you arrive home, you’ll need to take care of your surgical incision yourself. We give you comprehensive instructions on how to bathe and keep any surgical strips dry. If you have stitches or staples used to close the incision, we’ll schedule an appointment with you to have them removed within a few weeks. 

It’s normal to have some aching in your abdominal muscles, especially after long periods of standing. Manage pain with over-the-counter medications approved by our office. For people that underwent laparoscopic surgery, lingering carbon dioxide gas that was pumped into your system can cause bloating and cramping. That will fade within a few days. 

We’ll have you move around enough to encourage circulation and recovery, but you’ll need to avoid strenuous activities and exercise. Our team provides you with a timeline as to when you can return to work and other activities. For most people, 2-4 weeks of recovery is sufficient. 

If your appendix burst or developed an abscess, your healing time might take a bit longer. 

Watch for signs of infection

While most people experience no side effects from their appendectomy, as with any surgery, you should be aware of the potential for infection. 

If you notice redness, swelling, bleeding, or pus drainage from the site of your incision or increased pain in the area, contact our office right away. Digestive problems, like vomiting, loss of appetite, or more than three days of watery diarrhea should be reported. Also, come to us if you have trouble breathing or constant coughing. 

You can live a perfectly normal, healthy life without your appendix. If you need an appendectomy, trust the professionals at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC. Call the office in Jackson, Mississippi, for a consultation or use the online tool to schedule your appointment.

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