General & Colorectal Surgeons serving the Greater Houston area

Appendectomies rank among the most common surgeries, with one out of every 2,000 people needing this procedure at some point in their lifetime. The board-certified surgeons at Southwest Surgical Associates perform a minimally invasive appendectomy whenever possible, but always choose the procedure needed to ensure your safety. If you have questions about appendicitis or appendectomies, call one of the offices in Cypress, Katy, Sugarland, Pearland, and Houston, Texas, or book an appointment online today.

What is an appendectomy?

An appendectomy is a surgery to remove your appendix. In most cases, this procedure serves as the first line of treatment for people with an inflamed and infected appendix (appendicitis).

Though your appendix produces infection-fighting proteins, it doesn’t serve an essential function. As a result, you can safely have an appendectomy.

What causes appendicitis?

The appendix is a small, tube-shaped organ attached to your large intestine in the lower right abdominal area. An infection develops when bacteria get into the appendix. The infection causes swelling, which creates pressure inside the appendix.

The increasing pressure disrupts blood flow, causing tissue degeneration. Without an appendectomy, the appendix may burst, allowing the infection to spread into your abdomen.

What symptoms indicate I need an appendectomy?

If you have appendicitis, you may experience:

  • Pain that begins near your belly button and moves to the lower right abdomen
  • Sudden pain in your lower right abdomen
  • Pain that gets worse when you walk or cough
  • Swelling and pressure in your abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

Appendicitis symptoms typically occur suddenly and quickly get worse. For this reason, you should never wait to get medical care for abdominal pain in the lower right area.

What happens during an appendectomy?

Southwest Surgical Associates perform minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to remove your appendix whenever possible. Patients with early, non-ruptured appendicitis are usually good candidates for laparoscopy.

During laparoscopy, your surgeon makes a small incision and places a tube (cannula) into the opening. Then they insert a laparoscope through the cannula. 

The scope has a video camera that sends magnified images from inside your body to a television monitor in the operating room. Your surgeon inserts additional cannulas and surgical instruments through other tiny incisions and uses them to remove the appendix while viewing the procedure on the monitor.  

When would I need an open appendectomy?

Not everyone can have a laparoscopy. Open surgery is often the best approach if you have an advanced infection or a ruptured appendix.

Your surgeon may decide to convert from laparoscopy to open surgery if they discover scar tissue in your abdomen, can’t clearly see the appendix, or bleeding problems develop during your surgery. What’s best for your safety will always dictate the decision to switch to open surgery.

When you need an appendectomy, you can depend on the experienced team at Southwest Surgical Associates. Call or book an appointment online today.


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If you’ve ever felt that medical care has become too much about business and not enough about you, you’ve probably never visited Southwest Surgical Associates. Here, you’ll be surrounded by compassion and attentiveness from the moment you enter. At Southwest Surgical you will experience warm, caring smiles at the front desk and nurses who call you by name and treat you like family. Moments like these will make you realize that old-fashioned, personalized medical care isn’t gone; it’s right here… along with today’s state-of-the-art treatment methods.
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