Right lower abdominal pain, fever, and an elevated white blood cell count are common signs and symptoms of appendicitis. The condition usually occurs when a blockage develops between the appendix and the intestine, which leads to swelling and an infection that can cause a life-threatening rupture of the organ.
The only treatment for appendicitis is an appendectomy, which is almost always performed on an emergency basis.
During surgery, the surgeon creates three small ports in the abdomen, and carbon dioxide gas is pumped in to expand the abdominal cavity for better viewing.
Then, a laparoscope is inserted through a port so the surgeon can examine the appendix - confirming it is red, swollen and needs to be removed.
Surgical instruments inserted through the other two ports grasp the appendix, separate it from the intestine, and remove it.
Warm sterile saltwater is run through one of the ports to cleanse the abdominal cavity and remove any traces of infection.
After the saltwater is suctioned out, a port is briefly left open to allow all the carbon dioxide to escape and the incisions are closed.
An uncomplicated laparoscopic appendectomy usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Following surgery patients will feel fatigue and soreness, but can get back to normal activity in one to two weeks.