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Your appendix is a small sac attached to your main bowl on the lower right side of your abdomen (stomach). It really has no function but sometimes your appendix can become inflamed (swollen) causing you pain and making you feel unwell. This irritation is called appendicitis.

Patients who present with the symptoms of appendicitis may have a blood test, an ultrasound scan or x-ray.

It is important that an appendicectomy be performed as soon as possible to avoid your appendix becoming more inflamed or perforated (burst) causing infection (peritonitis).

What happens during an appendicectomy?

An appendicectomy is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between half an hour and an hour. Your surgeon will remove the appendix either by using the laparoscopic (‘keyhole’) technique or by an open incision (cut) in the lower abdomen.

During a laparoscopic appendicectomy your surgeon will use a thin tube with a camera attached to inspect the inside of your abdomen through a small incision. Once your appendix is found they will remove it using other instruments passed through other small incisions. They will close the incisions with stitches or staples.

An open appendicectomy is performed using one incision in your abdomen.

After an appendicectomy

If your appendix is not perforated you may be able to go home after one to two days.

Patients with a perforated appendix may need a longer hospital stay and treatment with antibiotics.

You should be able to return to normal activities within four weeks after your procedure. Be sure and discuss any return to work with your surgeon. 

Most patients make a quick recovery from an appendicectomy. Any surgical procedure can result in complications:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots

Specific complications of appendicectomy:

  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Developing an abscess
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Vomiting
  • Developing a leak
  • Obstruction of the bowel
  • Pylephlebitis (inflammation of the portal vein which goes to the liver)
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
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Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
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Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
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3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
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25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ


Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
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Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
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Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
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Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
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Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
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North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
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Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
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Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
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The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
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Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good

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