Dr. Sean Yuan provides appendectomy procedures to patients from in and around Pottstown, Pennsylvania from his practice, Pottstown Surgical Associates.

What is an appendectomy?

An appendectomy is the surgical removal of a person’s appendix. This procedure is completed when a patient’s appendix is infected and at risk of bursting and releasing bacteria and stool into the abdomen.

What does the appendix do?

For years it was believed that the appendix is an organ with little importance to a person’s health and wellbeing. While a body can function without an appendix, the seemingly insignificant organ helps to regulate or ‘reboot’ the bacteria levels in a person’s digestive system. For example, when a person suffers from an illness that causes evacuation of the bowel and intestine, like gastroenteritis, or less commonly cholera or dysentery, the good bacteria is flushed out with the bad. The appendix is believed to help the body regrow the good bacteria and support the immune system.

What happens during an appendectomy?

In most cases, an appendectomy is completed laparoscopically. This means that the surgeon makes small incisions in the patient’s abdomen and inserts specially designed instruments through those cuts to remove the appendix. One of the instruments used is a laparoscope, which is a small camera mounted on the end of the tube. This camera provides a live video feed from inside the body, allowing Dr. Yuan to see the organs and monitor the procedure without having to make a large incision in the body.

What happens after surgery?

When an appendectomy is laparoscopic, the patient typically goes home within a day or so of the procedure, unless there are complications. Laparoscopic appendectomies are minimally invasive, so recovery is often quicker with less chance of complications than a traditional open surgery. Patients will typically be back to normal activities within a week, although strenuous activity is discouraged until after the patient has a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to check the success of the procedure. Dr. Yuan will provide specific aftercare instructions to each patient, depending on his or her specific needs and condition.

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