Because of the likelihood of the appendix rupturing and causing a severe, life-threatening infection, doctors typically will recommend that the appendix be removed with an operation called an appendectomy. The appendix can be removed in two ways:
Open method – Under anesthesia, an incision is made in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen. The surgeon finds the appendix and removes it. If the appendix has ruptured, a small drainage tube may be placed to allow pus and other fluids that are in the abdomen to drain out. The tube will be removed in a few days, when the surgeon feels the abdominal infection has subsided.
Laparoscopic method – This procedure uses several small incisions and a camera called a laparoscope to look inside the abdomen during the operation. With the patient under anesthesia, the surgeon places the instruments used to remove the appendix through several small incisions, and places the laparoscope through another incision. This method is not usually performed if the appendix has ruptured.
Your doctor will determine your specific appendicitis treatment based on:
- Your age, overall health and medical history
- The extent of your condition
- Your tolerance of specific medicines, procedures or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference