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Open Appendectomy


  • An open appendectomy is surgery to remove your appendix. The appendix is a tube-shaped organ in the lower right side of your abdomen (stomach). Scientists do not know what an appendix does in a person's body. You may need an appendectomy if you have appendicitis. If you have appendicitis, your appendix is inflamed (swollen) or infected by germs called bacteria. Your appendix may become inflamed and infected if it becomes blocked. Some things that may cause your appendix to become blocked include stool, seeds, or tumors (growths). You may also need surgery if your appendix is injured or not in the right position.
  • Your caregiver may press on parts of your body to see where you have pain. He may also do blood, urine, or imaging tests to check for appendicitis and other diseases. In an open appendectomy, your appendix is removed through an incision (cut) in your lower abdomen. Having your appendix removed may help relieve your symptoms, such as pain, vomiting, and fever (high body temperature). If your appendix bursts or has a hole in it, then infection may leak out into your abdomen. If your appendix is removed before bursting, you may be less likely to get a serious infection.
Picture of a normal digestive system



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Your caregiver will look at your stitches and ask you about your symptoms. He will check your surgical cut for any signs of infection. If you have a drain, then he may remove it. Your caregiver may also do imaging tests, such as ultrasound or computed tomography. These tests may help your caregiver see if you have an infection in your abdomen.


  • You have a new rash.
  • Your surgery site is red, swollen, or has pus coming from it.
  • You feel nauseous (sick to your stomach).
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, surgery, or care.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have severe (very bad) pain.
  • You keep vomiting (throwing up).
  • Your abdomen becomes swollen.
  • You have bleeding that does not stop.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.