The appendix is a three to six inch tube-like structure that projects from the junction of the small and large intestines. It is unclear what the function of the appendix is, and its removal does not appear to impact any of the body’s functions.
Appendectomy is the removal of an infected or inflamed appendix. This surgery is usually done as an emergency procedure, because an infected appendix may burst, creating a serious infection in the abdominal cavity. An inflamed or infected appendix may present atypically, causing confusing symptoms, because of the variance with which the appendix may be oriented in the abdominal cavity.
Appendectomy may be performed in two ways: as an open procedure, or laparoscopically.
Open Appendectomy is performed through a small incision in the abdomen. The appendix is separated from the surrounding tissues and blood vessels are tied off. Then the appendix itself is tied off, removed, and sent to the lab for examination. The stump of the appendix, which remains, is positioned into the cecum, a pouch located a the beginning of the small intestine.
Laparoscopic Appencectomy, a safe alternative to an open appendectomy, uses tiny incisions through which a laparoscope with an attached camera, and a cannula ( a surgical instrument ) are used to view the affected area and remove the appendix. This method allows the patient to resume normal activity more quickly than an open appendectomy.
Unless absolutely contra-indicated, Dr’s Katilius and Wu routinely perform appendectomies laparoscopically.