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After the removal of the appendix (appendicectomy)

What happens in the operation to remove an appendix?

An appendicectomy is a common operation which involves the removal of the appendix. This may be performed by the ‘open’ surgery involving a cut, or a ‘keyhole’ surgery. All cuts will be closed with either glue or dissolvable stitches under the skin. Neither of these need to be removed.

Illustration of intestines and inflamed appendix

What complications can happen after the surgery?

The appearance of the appendix at the time of the operation determines what treatment may be needed after the procedure. If the appendix is not burst then usually no further antibiotics are needed and the risk of developing infection in the wound is low.

If the appendix is burst, then your child will be given intravenous (IV) antibiotics after the operation. This is usually for 5 days as there is a risk of infection developing in the wound or of an abscess forming at the site of the appendix.

If an infection develops, then your child will need a longer course of antibiotics and some draining to remove the pus. If either of these are needed, we will know between 7 to 10 days after the operation.

If your child has any of the following:
  • increased pain
  • being sick
  • wound discharge
  • high temperature

you should seek medical attention.

After any type of surgery in the tummy, there is a risk that scar tissue will form. In a small percentage of people this can cause problems in the future with bowel obstruction.

If your child has severe pain in the tummy and is being sick, (especially green sick) then they should seek medical attention.

When can my child resume normal activities?

Recovery in children is usually quick after discharge from hospital. They can resume normal activities including sport, swimming and school as soon as they feel able to, which is normally within a week of discharge although may be slightly longer for a burst appendix.

Will we need to have a medical check up after surgery?

A follow-up outpatient visit is not always needed. You will be told before discharge whether you need to be seen again by a doctor.

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Disclaimer

Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: PSU14

Resource Type: Article

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