All appendectomies used to be performed through traditional “open” surgery, which requires a large incision. Today, new technologies enable surgeons to perform the same surgery using a minimally invasive approach (with small incisions), which may result in less pain and scarring, as well as faster recovery. This means you can return to normal activities sooner. To remove your appendix once it becomes inflamed or infected, doctors have two options:
In the open appendectomy, the surgeon:
- Makes an incision 2-3 inches long in the lower right side of your abdomen, through skin, muscle, and protective tissue.
- Isolates the appendix, separates it from the large intestine, and removes it.
- Closes the incision with sutures or surgical staples.
In a minimally invasive procedure for appendectomy, the surgeon:
- Makes three or four ¾-inch incisions instead of one larger incision.
- Inflates your abdomen with air or carbon dioxide.
- Inserts a miniature camera called a laparoscope into your abdomen through one of the incisions, and watches the images on a video monitor.
- Uses advanced, long-handled instruments inserted through the other incisions to detach and remove your appendix.
- Closes each small incision with sutures.