Records of the first appendectomy date back to 1735, with French surgeon Claudius Amyand removing perforated tissue from an 11-year-old boy. Since then the procedure has become one of the most common in the world, with approximately 270,000 performed each year in the United States alone.
What is an Appendectomy?
An appendectomy is the removal of the appendix, usually because of appendicitis. The appendix is a vestigial organ which means that the body doesn’t really need it anymore. It is part of the large intestine.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed, usually because of a blockage. Appendicitis can cause intense pain and high fevers.
An “open appendectomy” involves a single short incision in the abdominal wall. A “laparoscopic appendectomy” involves several smaller, less obvious incisions. The base of the appendix is tied off where it joins the colon allowing its safe removal.
Does Scarring Occur After an Appendectomy?
Though considered minimally invasive, an appendectomy will still leave scars. These are typically shallow marks along the stomach or across the hip, and they are usually no more than 2-inches to 3-inches long.
Read More: Surgery Scars
Which Treatment Options are Available?
Appendectomy scars will fade naturally over time with most people – if treated properly (sun protection, proper wound healing, etc.) However, some patients may want to expedite this process. Others may develop quite prominent scars which they feel self-conscious about.
Help the Incision Heal Properly
Infection can cause healing problems and scarring. One of the most important things to do after surgery is to care for the incision properly. Keep it clean, applying both a bandage and antibiotic ointment to minimize infection. Be certain to dry the site after bathing, avoid sun exposure, and maintain a healthy diet (foods rich in protein and antioxidants will strengthen the healing process.)
Topical Scar Creams
Scarring occurs when the body creates excess collagen, which changes the texture and appearance of the tissue. If your body over produces melanin, then your scar will be dark (hyperpigmentation) or if it is under-produced, your scar will be void of color/white (hypopigmentation.) Topical treatments can help improve you scar’s appearance and feel. When applying your scar treatment, be sure to firmly massage the scar. This will help to soften the scar tissue and flatten it (unless it is a keloid or hypertrophic scar.)
Have a question about your appendectomy scar? Leave us a comment!