Appendicitis needs removal treatment as soon as possible. This surgery is known as an appendectomy or appendicectomy. The question is how long the appendicitis recovery time?

Appendicitis recovery time is depending on many things or circumstances. . .

The procedure

Generally, appendectomy procedure needs general anesthetic using either a keyhole or open technique.

Keyhole surgery

One example of keyhole surgery is laparoscopy. It is a method of removing the appendix with a tool inserted inside the body through small cut. The recovery time tends to be quicker than with open surgery.

This keyhole surgery involves making 3 or 4 small cuts (incisions) in your abdomen. Special instruments are then inserted, including:

  • A tube that gas is pumped through to inflate the abdomen. This circumstance allows the surgeon to see your appendix clearly and give them more room to work.
  • A laparoscope (a small tube with a light source and camera) can give clear image of the abdomen to a television monitor.
  • Small surgical tools used to remove the appendix.

When the surgeon removed the appendix (inflamed appendix), the incisions will usually be closed with dissolvable stitches. Along of this procedure, the regular stiches may also be use. The stitches need to be remove 7 to 10 days after the surgery. It means that the appendicitis recovery time at this procedure spends a week or more if the stitches are clear and clean without any complications.

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Open Surgery

In serious circumstances, keyhole surgery is not recommended and open surgery is performed instead. The open surgery includes:

  • When the appendix has burst and formed a lump called an appendix mass.
  • When there is no surgeon with laparoscopic removal experience.
  • Patients who had open abdominal surgery previously.
  • In these cases, the open surgery involves making a large cut in the lower right hand side of your abdomen. The large cut is important to see the appendix clearly and remove it.
  • When there is widespread abdomen infection (peritonitis as a result of burst appendicitis). It is necessary to operate through a long cut along the middle of the abdomen in a procedure called laparotomy.

Just like keyhole surgery, the incision in open surgery must be closed using either dissolvable or regular stitches. These stitches need to be removed at a later date. So the appendicitis recovery time in open surgery spend time longer than keyhole surgery. Depending on the large surgical wound, the recovery time is about 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery. And the patient should be hospitalized.

After both types of surgery, the removed appendix sent to a laboratory. It should be checked if there are no signs of cancer. This is just a precautionary procedure, although it is rare for a serious problem to be found.

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Appendicitis Recovery Time

According to NHS, one of the advantages of keyhole surgery is the appendicitis recovery time tends to be short. And appendicitis patient can leave hospital a few days after the surgery.

If the appendix is operated immediately, most patients can go home within 24 hours after the surgery. With open surgery if you have peritonitis or other complications, it may take up to a week before you are well enough to go home.

If you have the operation and first few days after, you may experience some pain and bruising. It is a normal condition because the surgery leaves wound in your body. This pain improves over time, but you can take analgesic if necessary.

In other cases if you had keyhole surgery, you may experience pain in the tip of your shoulder for a week after the surgery. This pain is caused by the gas that was pumped into your abdomen during the operation procedure.

You may also experience some short-term constipation. The constipation here is because your intestine still in anesthesia. You can reduce the constipation by eating plenty of fibre, consuming enough fluid.

Before you are ready to leave the hospital, you will be advised about how to care your surgery wound and what activities you should avoid.

So the appendicitis recovery time is about 24 hours to 6 weeks depending on certain circumstances. You can return to normal activities in a couple of weeks, but you have to avoided for 4 to 6 weeks after open surgery.

When to seek medical advice

Once you recover, it is very important to keep your eye for signs and symptoms of any problems. Contact the hospital unit where the appendectomy was perfomed, inform your condition including (These signs can be a sign of infection):

  • Increasing pain and swelling
  • Vomitting
  • Fever
  • any discharge coming out from the wound
  • The wound is hot to touch and looked redness.

Risks

Appendectomies are one of the most commonly performed operations in the world, yet serious or long-term complications are rare. However, like all types of surgery, there are some risks. These include:

  • Wound infection. The infection of the operation wound is possible although antibiotics may be given before, during, or after the operation to minimise the risk of serious infections.
  • Bleeding under the skin that causes a firm swelling (haematoma).
  • Scarring. Surgery always leave wound and scars. Both surgical techniques will leave some scarring where the incisions were made.
  • Abscess. In rare cases, an infection caused by the appendix bursting can lead to an abscess after surgery. The surgery wound is actually sterile.
  • Hernia – At the site of the open incision or any of the incisions used in the laparoscopic approach
  • The use of general anaesthetic also carries some risks, such as the risk of an allergic reaction or inhaling stomach contents, leading to pneumonia. However, serious complications like this are very rare.

In Summary . . .

What is the recovery time for an appendectomy?

The recovery time for an appendectomy is vary and depends on the type of the operations, anesthesia, and any complications that may have developed during the recovery time. For example, laparoscopic appendectomy may be performed on an outpatient basis so that the patient can be discharged to recover at home (24 hours after surgery), while an open surgery may require an hospitalization or an even longer time to be discharged to go home. Normal activities can resume in a few days but full recovery may take 4 to 6 weeks during which time strenuous activity should be avoided.

Are there long-term consequences of removing the appendix?

For most individuals there are no long-term consequences or complication from removed appendix. However, some individuals may have increased risk of developing an incisional hernia, stump appendicitis (infections due to a retained portion of the appendix), and bowel obstruction.