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5 Things You Need to Know About Appendectomy Complications


Appendectomy Surgery Is Common

An appendectomy is surgery performed to remove an inflamed or infected appendix. It's a common surgery and mostly goes off without a hitch. Sometimes, however, there may be appendectomy complications. Removal of the appendix may create other problems requiring immediate attention. Infection around the incision area may show up as red skin with drainage coming from the incision. Peritonitis is a much more serious appendectomy complication. This infection enters the blood stream and may become life-threatening. Abdominal tenderness, fever, vomiting and rapid heart rate may indicate peritonitis.

Complications Cause Immobility and Increased Pain

Immobility (difficulty moving around) is an appendectomy complication due to simply not being able to get up and move soon after surgery. You may be immobile due to tubes or drains coming from your abdominal area, draining off infection or fluid. When an appendix ruptures, tubes must be used to drain infection and prevent the infection from spreading throughout your body systems. Increased pain and difficulty breathing may be side effects of anesthesia used during appendectomy.

Abscess and Hemorrhage Are Serious Complications

Pelvic abscesses or an abscess under the diaphragm (just below the lungs) may be appendectomy complications. An abscess is a pus pocket that forms deep in the body's tissues or in a body cavity. These abscesses must be surgically drained to prevent further infection. Chills, fever, sweating and diarrhea may be signs of abscess. Hemorrhage (excessive bleeding internally or externally) may be a complication of appendectomy.

Laser Surgery Cuts Down on Unsavory Connections

One appendectomy complication happens when fibrous tissue forms abnormal connections from one abdominal organ to another. These adhesions may cause pain and other unwanted side effects, making healing difficult. However, these adhesions happen during traditional appendectomies where the abdomen must be opened up using a large incision. Nowadays, most appendectomies are done by laser, greatly minimizing adverse adhesions problems. Another appendectomy complication happens when another abdominal organ is accidentally perforated (cut or pricked) during appendix removal. Thankfully, this rarely happens.

Bowel Problems Are Rare But Serious

A condition called "ileus" in the medical field may happen after an appendectomy. This complication involves the bowels. When a doctor or nurse listens for bowel sounds, none can be heard. That's because nothing is moving and that's not a good sign. Anesthesia may cause your bowels to be slow "waking up" and you may require IV fluids to replenish bodily fluids and get things moving again. Very rarely bowels may be damaged during appendectomy. In that case, you may need another surgery to repair the damage.

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