If you have appendicitis, your appendix will need to be removed by surgery.
Removal of the appendix (which doctors might call an appendectomy) is one of the most commonly performed operations in the UK, and its success rate is excellent.
It's not always easy to make a clear diagnosis. But if there's an outside chance that you have appendicitis, doctors tend to advise surgery rather than run the risk of the appendix bursting.
A keyhole operation (medically known as laparoscopy) is usually carried out as the recovery is quicker compared to an open operation.
Three small cuts are made to remove the appendix. The advantage of keyhole surgery is that scarring is minimal and the recovery time is fast.
Most people can leave hospital a few days after the operation, although it may be one or two weeks before you fully recover.
Read more information about a laparoscopy.
In some circumstances, keyhole surgery isn't recommended. Open surgery will be performed instead.
- cases where the appendix has burst
- people who have tumours in their digestive system
- women who are in the first trimester (up to week 13) of pregnancy
- people who have previously had stomach surgery
In these cases, the operation will involve a single large cut to remove the appendix. Open surgery will leave a larger scar and it may be a week before you're well enough to leave hospital.
Both keyhole and open surgery are carried out under a general anaesthetic, which means that you're asleep throughout the operation.
Read more information about the symptoms of appendicitis.