Appendicitis is a condition where the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch connected to the large intestine, becomes inflamed or infected. It is characterised by severe pain in the lower right abdomen that is sometimes accompanied by symptoms like fever, nausea and appetite loss.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires the removal of the appendix. If left untreated, the inflamed appendix may rupture and spill infectious contents into the abdominal cavity. These bacteria may cause life-threatening consequences, such as peritonitis.
How Appendicitis is Treated
To relieve symptoms and prevent the appendix from bursting, the inflamed organ is removed by a colorectal surgeon through a procedure called appendicectomy. This can be done via a traditional open surgery or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery—the latter being the more common and preferred technique.
During this colorectal surgery, at least three small incisions are made on the lower right abdominal wall. A laparoscope (a thin, lighted telescope attached with a camera) is inserted into one of the openings. The images will then be projected onto a monitor, giving the Singapore colorectal surgeon a clearer view of and access to the appendix.
Microsurgical instruments are then inserted into the other openings and, with the help of the laparoscope, guided toward the infected appendix. Upon removal, the appendix is first contained in a special bag before being pushed out the body through one of the incisions. Doing so prevents any infectious liquid and bacteria from leaking into the abdomen. The incisions are then closed with sutures or steri-strips.
In case of a ruptured appendix, the abdominal cavity is first cleaned using sterile fluid and by suctioning out any infected contents, before the wounds are closed. The whole procedure takes 45 minutes to one hour.
Advantages of Laparoscopic (Keyhole) Appendicectomy
Compared to traditional open surgery, a laparoscopic appendicectomy has the following advantages:
- Reduced post-operative pain, bleeding and scarring
- Shorter hospital stay and recovery period
- Quicker return to work and regular activities
- Lower risk of wound infection and complications
However, results still vary from patient to patient, mainly depending on his or her overall condition.
Singapore colorectal surgery clinic, Kam Colorectal Centre, specialises in laparoscopic, single-site and robot-assisted procedures for the management of a variety of conditions, including appendicitis, haemorrhoids and colorectal cancer. Call 6443 1005 for enquiries.