This webpage will give you information about an appendicectomy. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is appendicitis?

 Appendicitis means inflammation of the appendix (see figure 1).

Appendicectomy child

When the appendix is inflamed it causes pain and makes you feel unwell.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Surgery removes the inflamed appendix and allows infected pus to be washed out. The aim of surgery is to make your child better and to prevent the serious complications appendicitis can cause.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If your child has severe appendicitis, there is no alternative to surgery. 

Your surgeon may recommend a course of antibiotics to help an inflamed appendix to settle. Your child may still need an appendicectomy and this will usually be arranged up to three months later.

If your child has an abscess, your surgeon may need to perform an operation to remove the pus.

What does the operation involve?

Your child will need a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between one and two hours.Your surgeon will remove the appendix either by using the laparoscopic (keyhole) technique or by an open cut in the abdomen.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Infection in the surgical site (wound)

2 Specific complications

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
  • Surgical emphysema
  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Developing an abscess
  • Vomiting
  • Developing a leak
  • Obstruction of the bowel
  • Pylephlebitis

How soon will my child recover?

Your child should be able to go home two to five days after an operation for simple appendicitis or after about a week following an operation for a burst appendix.

Your child should be able to return to school after about two weeks. Your child can return to normal activities as soon as they feel comfortable. This may take up to six weeks.


Appendicitis is where the appendix becomes inflamed. Surgery is the only dependable way to prevent the serious complications appendicitis can cause.


Author: Mr Shailinder Singh DM FRCS (Paed. Surg.) and Mr Jonathan Sutcliffe FRCS

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.



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