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Open Appendectomy In Children


  • An open appendectomy is surgery to remove your child's appendix. The appendix is a tube-shaped organ in the lower right side of your child's abdomen (belly). Caregivers do not know what an appendix does in a person's body. Your child may need an appendectomy if he has appendicitis. If your child has appendicitis, his appendix is inflamed (swollen) or infected by germs called bacteria. The appendix may become inflamed or infected if it becomes blocked, like from stool, seeds, or tumors (growths). Your child may need an appendectomy if his appendix is injured or not in the right position. He may also need an appendectomy if he has a disease in his abdomen that damages his appendix.
    Location of the Appendix
  • Your child's caregiver may do blood, urine, or imaging tests to check for appendicitis and other diseases. In an open appendectomy, your child’s appendix is removed through an incision (cut) in his lower abdomen. An open appendectomy may help relieve your child’s symptoms, such as pain, vomiting (throwing up), and fever (high body temperature). An open appendectomy may also help prevent your child's appendix from bursting. If his appendix is removed before bursting, then he may be less likely to get a serious infection.



  • Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight an infection caused by bacteria. Give your child this medicine exactly as ordered by his primary healthcare provider. Do not stop giving your child the antibiotics unless directed by his primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or give your child leftover antibiotics that were given to him for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell caregivers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.


Ask your caregiver for more information about how to care for your child's tubes. Do not remove any of your child's tubes unless your caregiver says it is OK.

  • Drains: Your child may go home with a drain in his wound (surgery cut). Drains are thin rubber tubes put into your child’s skin to remove fluid from your child's abdomen. Your child's caregiver will take out the drain when fluids stop coming out of it.
  • Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line): Your child may go home with a PICC line to receive antibiotics. This tube is put into a big vein in your child's arm. Your child may need a PICC line if it is hard for caregivers to insert a regular IV. A PICC line also may stay in longer than a regular IV can.

Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:

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

  • Ask your child’s caregiver when your child should return to have his stitches or staples taken out. Your child’s caregiver will check the surgical wound for any signs of infection. Your caregiver may remove your child's tubes or drains. Try to remember any new symptoms your child may have and tell them to his caregiver. Your child may need blood or imaging tests. Imaging tests may include an ultrasound or a computed tomography (CT) scan.

Returning to school or activities:

Ask your child's caregiver when it is OK for your child to return to school or his usual activities.


  • Your child's drains or tubes are loose or have fallen out.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's skin is itchy or has a rash.
  • Your child's surgery site is red, swollen, or has pus coming from it.
  • Your child vomits (throws up) or is sick to his stomach.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition, surgery, or care.


  • Your child's stitches come apart.
  • Your child's wound keeps bleeding.
  • Your child has very bad pain in his abdomen.
  • You see a bulge coming out of your child's surgery site.

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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.