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Is an Appendectomy Painful, and Everything Else You Need to Know

By December 21, 2022No Comments

Provided By: Medical News Today

An appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix. It is a common procedure that surgeons usually carry out in an emergency. A person is under general anesthesia when doctors remove the appendix, meaning they should not feel any pain during the procedure. However, the surgical area may become tender as it heals.

The appendix is a small pouch that does not perform any vital functions in the body. However, it is close to the large intestine and is sometimes vulnerable to infection due to the accumulation of stool, bacteria, and other infectious material.

If it acquires an infection, a doctor will usually recommend removing the appendix with an appendectomy.

Is it painful?

In most cases, an appendectomy is an emergency procedure that doctors perform when a person’s appendix develops an infection and becomes inflamed. When appendicitis develops, individuals will often experience pain around the belly button that then migrates to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen.

Before the procedure, the surgeon will place the person under general anesthesia, meaning they will not feel the surgery. Following the operation, the patient may require a short hospital stay. However, doctors may also release them on the day of the procedure.

While recovering, a person’s incisions may feel tender to the touch. They will also need to take some time off from their regular activities. During the recovery period, an individual’s doctor will likely recommend medications to help alleviate the pain.


A surgeon may recommend one of two types of appendectomy procedures. They include:

  • Open appendectomy: An open appendectomy involves creating a single, larger incision in the abdomen. Once the surgeon makes the incision, they pull out the appendix and then seal the incision.
  • Laparoscopic appendectomy: A generally less invasive procedure, a laparoscopic appendectomy involves the surgeon making about 3 small incisions into the abdomen. They then guide a small tube with a camera into the abdomen and use a screen to guide them as they remove the appendix. The surgical team closes the wounds once the doctor removes the appendix.

Both procedures require recovery in the hospital and additional recovery time at home. Which procedure a doctor chooses will vary according to their experience with either approach, the patient’s choice, and which technique the medical facility offers.

Recovery time

After surgery, recovery time varies depending on the severity of the infection and whether or not the appendix has ruptured.

According to the American College of Surgeons, if the appendix did not rupture, a person usually may go home after 1 or 2 days in the hospital. However, doctors increasingly release individuals on the same day following the procedure, as research shows this can be safe and results in low rates of complications or readmissions.

A person will need to stay longer at the hospital if their appendix has ruptured. In these cases, they will receive strong antibiotics and remain under observation for any signs of complications.

People should avoid driving, drinking alcohol, and operating machinery for up to 2 days after an appendectomy. They should also refrain from making important decisions because the anesthetic can make it difficult to think clearly for a couple of days.

A doctor will speak with the individual about activity restrictions and expected recovery times. These activity restrictions will typically last between 2 and 4 weeks after the appendectomy.

Most children can return to school within 1 week of the surgery if their appendix did not rupture and within 2 weeks if it did.

If suffering from appendicitis pain, or if you have any concerns, please call our office at (210) 504-5053.