Children Appendectomy Procedure
The dedicated team at Pediatric Surgical Associates specializes in the treatment of children’s appendectomy. What, exactly, is it? An appendectomy is an emergency surgical removal of your child’s appendix when it has become inflamed. An inflamed appendix is called appendicitis. If the appendicitis is left untreated, the appendix could rupture and cause a life-threatening infection.
The appendix is a tiny organ located in the lower right side of the belly and is connected to the large intestine. It has no function and doesn’t play a big role in human health, making its removal completely fine for your child.
Symptoms of Appendicitis in Children
The most common symptom is sudden sharp pain in the bellybutton area. This pain may come and go, and may move around the right part of the abdomen. The pain becomes more persistent and comes more often for the entire time the appendicitis goes untreated. If the appendix bursts, a child can develop a high fever, and pain will move throughout the abdominal area. Common symptoms of appendicitis in children:
- Pain in the right side of the stomach
- Bad appetite
- Nausea/light headedness
- Constant vomiting
Causes of Appendicitis in Children
Appendicitis still has no defined causes, though it may be brought on by mucus forming inside the appendix causing inflammation or inflammation due to clogged feces from the large intestine. An excessive amount of bacteria in the appendix could also cause appendicitis.
Diagnosis of Appendicitis in Children
Doctors will be able to diagnose appendicitis in children by conducting a physical test in order to assess your child’s pain. Doctors apply gentle pressure around the abdomen area where the pain occurs to check inflammation signals. Doctors may also conduct an imaging test, blood test, X-ray and/or CT scan for a more accurate diagnosis.
Types Of Children Appendectomy In Orange County
There are two types of surgical treatments for your child’s appendicitis. Your pediatric surgical team will decide on which of the two types of appendectomy surgeries will be best for your child. In some cases, our surgeons may use a combination of these two procedures to most safely, effectively remove your child’s infected appendix.
In general, appendectomy normally takes anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. Though quick, your child will still need be be admitted to the hospital for this procedure because it is performed under general anesthesia administered by an anesthesiologist or by a certified nurse anesthetist.
Good news! Appendectomy is a common procedure and complications are rare.
Your child will most likely go home within 24 to 36 hours after the surgery. If there is infection from the appendix bursting, your child may have to stay in the hospital from 5 to 7 days for more observation.
Now let’s look at the two types of appendectomies.
Open Appendectomy for Children – This procedure is the more traditional way of treating appendicitis. An open appendectomy is done by creating an incision, cutting the appendix from the large intestine, and stitching the incision closed. The procedure is done under general anesthesia, which means your child will be asleep during the procedure, and takes about an hour.
Laparoscopic Appendectomy for Children – This is a minimally invasive surgery to remove your child’s appendix through several small incisions, rather than through one large one. Compared to open appendectomy, recovery time from the laparoscopic appendectomy is shorter. With laparoscopic appendectomy, your pediatric surgical team will insert a laparoscope (a micro camera) inside the body through a small incision. The laparoscope serves as the surgeon’s eyes as they conduct surgery by just looking at a monitor. Additional tiny incisions will also be made in order to guide other medical instruments.
Parents/Guardians’ Role during Your Child’s Appendectomy
Your most important role as parents or guardians is to help your child stay calm and relaxed before the appendectomy. The best way to do that is for you to stay calm.
We encourage you to talk and hold your child’s hand before the procedure, while sleep medication is given, and while in recovery. You may also want to bring along a comfort item or a favorite toy for your child to hold before and after the surgery.
Your Orange County children appendectomy specialists at the Pediatric Surgical Associates will be happy to explain these procedures in more detail and answer any questions you may have about an appendectomy procedure for your child. Call 714-361-4480 or Contact Us for more information or to make an appointment.