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Robotic Appendectomy

What Is Appendectomy?

An appendectomy is the removal of an appendix, a small hollow pouch that sits at the junction of the small intestine and large intestine in the lower right abdomen. Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, your doctor may advise the removal of your appendix.

Symptoms Of Appendicitis

Symptoms and signs differ and may include a dull pain in the upper abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, inability to pass gas, swelling of the abdomen, fever, or swelling.

Common Types Of Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis is the most common disease process that affects the abdominal cavity. Appendicitis comes in a wide spectrum, from mild early acute appendicitis to perforated (ruptured) appendicitis.

Robotic Surgical Appendectomy

When your doctor tells you that you need to have an appendectomy, many thoughts and concerns fill your mind. Will the operation be a success? How painful will it be? How much time off from work do I need?

The robotic techniques used by ATX Robotic Surgeons are part of the surgical evolution from open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. Traditional open surgery used to require a big incision which leads to more pain, extended time off work, long time away from life activities and sometimes even days in the hospital. This also lead to further use of narcotic pain medication.

In laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are made, and the appendix is removed. One of the most significant differences between a laparoscopic operation and robotic surgery is that the robotic instruments offer the ATX surgeon a more extensive range of motion. The robotic instruments can move in ways that the human hand cannot. The superior 3D visualization with 4K high definition allows for precise dissection of tissues and suturing.

Robotic surgery has made removal of the appendix easier, faster, and with less blood loss, more precise stitching and minimal scarring. It can be performed safely in the elective, urgent, or emergent setting.The good news we now have new procedures which offer options that can decrease discomfort, speed up recovery, and help you get back to your life faster.

It is essential to know that your ATX surgeon is in complete control during the entire surgical procedure; the robotic system responds to the directions your surgeon provides with precise movements inside your body.

Recovering From Robotic Assisted Appendectomy

After an appendectomy, it is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions as your body needs time to heal.

  • Keep the incisions clean and dry.
  • Be out of bed and walk the day after the surgery to diminish the risk of blood clots.
  • You will probably be able to resume regular activities, such as showering, taking the stairs and driving in one to two weeks time.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon 2 weeks following your operation.

Thanks to innovations in robotic engineering, surgeons can perform appendectomies through small incisions rather than the larger incisions associated with conventional open surgery. The difference results in less harm to surrounding tissues, less pain for the patient, less risk of infection, less blood loss, and a faster recovery. Patients are also able to have more outpatient surgery (can go home the day of surgery) or spend fewer days in the hospital after the surgery.

Contact us at ATX Robotic Surgery and we can go over all your options and set you at ease about this life changing surgical technique.

Patient Story

Perforated Appendicitis

28 year old female who presented to her OB with severe lower abdominal pain, nausea and inability to eat for at least 3 days.

Patient thought this was due to her pregnancy. She was pregnant with her first baby at 32 weeks. She has had a normal pregnancy up until these symptoms.

The OB admitted the patient to the hospital and blood work was undertaken. Her white blood cell count was elevated. She underwent an MRI (which is safer than CT in pregnancy). The MRI showed a collection of fluid around her appendix and an enlarged and inflamed appendix. It also confirmed an intrauterine 32 week pregnancy. She was started on IV ABX. An ATX robotic surgeon was consulted and the patient was diagnosed with ruptured appendicitis with likely abscess around the appendix.

Given the findings the patient was taken to the operating room on an emergent basis due to the risk it poses to losing the pregnancy. This video highlights the use of robotic surgery in emergent operations. With a very large uterus laparoscopic surgery becomes very difficult. The robotic technique allows us to use the 4KHD view to fully zoom in under the uterus and work in a very small space.

A large abscess can be seen which is drained.The appendectomy is completed without incident. The patient stayed in the hospital for 2 days to complete IV ABX. The fetus was monitored and showed no abnormalities. The patient returned to clinic and made a full recovery. She delivered a normal healthy male baby at term (week 40).

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ATX Robotic Surgery serves the Austin and the Central Texas Area.

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