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Open Appendectomy In Children


An open appendectomy is surgery to remove your child's appendix through an incision in his lower abdomen.


Before your child's surgery:

  • Bring your child's medicine bottles or a list of his medicines when you see his healthcare provider. Tell your child's healthcare provider if your child is allergic to any medicine. Also tell your child's healthcare provider if your child is taking any vitamins or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your child may have blood tests to check for infection. Your child may also have imaging tests, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound. These tests may help show inflammation or extra fluid in your child's appendix. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about tests that your child may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Ask your child's healthcare provider for instructions whether your child should eat or drink the night before his surgery.

The day of your child's surgery:

  • Write down the date, time, and location of your child's surgery.
  • Pre-op care: Your child may be given medicine to make him feel sleepy and more relaxed. Your child may have tubes put in him and equipment attached to him during this time. Healthcare providers will stay with your child all the time to make sure he is warm, safe, and comfortable.
  • Consent: You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal piece of paper (consent form). It gives your child's healthcare provider permission to do the surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Be sure all your questions have been answered before you sign the form.


What will happen:

  • Your child will be taken to the room where his surgery will be done. Anesthesia medicine will be given to keep your child asleep and free from pain during the surgery. Your child's healthcare provider will make a cut through your child's lower abdomen.
  • Your child's healthcare provider will remove your child's appendix. The stump of your child's appendix is closed off with stitches. Healthcare providers may wash the inside of your child's abdomen to remove any remaining infection. If pus or extra fluid remains inside your child's abdomen, his healthcare provider may place a drain in his wound. Your child's healthcare provider will then close your child's cut with stitches or staples. Your child's appendix may be sent to a lab for testing.

After your child's surgery:

Your child will be taken to a room where he can rest until he wakes up. Your child should not get out of bed until his healthcare provider says it is okay. Your child may be sleepy and have some pain after surgery. Healthcare providers will check on your child. Your child will be taken to his hospital room once your healthcare provider decides it is okay. Leave any bandages on your child until a healthcare provider takes them off.


  • Your child has cramps in his abdomen.
  • Your child has nausea.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has diarrhea.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child has severe pain in his abdomen.


  • After surgery, your child may get an infection or a fever. Your child may also get pneumonia (an infection in his lungs). Organs may be damaged or push through the incision site. Scar tissue may form inside his body and cause tissue and organs to stick together. Your child's bowels may become blocked and stop working properly. Your child may get an abscess, which is a pus filled pocket of tissue that can cause infection. Your child may bleed more than expected during surgery or may require another surgery. Your child may get a serious infection in his blood and he could die.
  • Without surgery, your child's appendix may burst open. If this happens, the infection inside of your child's appendix may spread to other organs and his blood. The infection may kill nearby tissue and cause your child to bleed in his abdomen. If this infection is not treated, it can be life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

© 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.