Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.
What do I need to know about an open appendectomy?
An open appendectomy is surgery to remove your appendix through an incision in your lower abdomen.
How do I prepare for surgery?
- Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for surgery. The provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery. You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery.
- Antibiotics may be given through your IV to prevent an infection during or after surgery. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
What will happen during an open appendectomy?
- General anesthesia will be given to keep you asleep and free from pain during your surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision in your lower abdomen. Your appendix will be removed. The incision will be closed with stitches, staples, or medical glue.
- Your surgeon may place a drain in your wound if your appendix has ruptured or pus remains inside your abdomen.
What should I expect after surgery?
- You may need to spend a few nights in the hospital. This may be needed if your appendix ruptured or you have other medical problems.
- You may be on a clear diet at first. You may be given ice chips and then liquids such as water, broth, juice, or soft drinks. Healthcare providers will tell you when it is okay to eat your regular foods.
What are the risks of an open appendectomy?
- Even with surgery, you may develop gangrene (tissue death). You may get a life-threatening blood infection. Your organs may be damaged or push through your incision site. Scar tissue may form inside your body and cause tissue and organs to stick together. This may cause bowel obstruction or infertility. Your bowels may stop working. You may get an abscess (pus-filled area) that can cause infection. You may need another surgery to help fix some of these problems.
- You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This can cause pain and swelling, and it can stop blood from flowing where it needs to go in your body. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs or brain.
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