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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Appendectomy

Appendectomy for appendix cancer

Surgical removal of the appendix is typically the recommended treatment for a carcinoid tumor that measures less than 1.5 centimeters in diameter.

What is an appendectomy?

Surgery to remove an appendix is known as an appendectomy. It is an emergency procedure performed when the appendix, a small organ attached to the large intestine, becomes irritated and inflamed. The condition is called appendicitis. The appendix swells when it becomes blocked by infection, cancer, a foreign material or a stool.

When an appendectomy is performed, and an appendix tumor is discovered and lab tests confirm it is appendix cancer (or appendiceal cancer), additional surgery to remove more tissue may be necessary. In addition to appendix surgery, patients may receive chemotherapy, and in rare cases, radiation therapy.

Appendicitis is relatively common, as nearly one out of every 15 people may develop the condition in their lifetime. Appendectomies are the most regularly performed emergency procedure for the abdomen. Diagnosing appendicitis and treating it immediately is an urgent matter because the appendix can burst open and spill and spread the infection throughout the abdomen. This can lead to inflammation of the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity. Appendicitis can be life threatening if it’s not treated immediately with an appendectomy and antibiotics.

An appendectomy can be performed as a:

Traditional open surgery: A surgeon makes a two to three-inch incision in the lower right side of the abdomen and removes the appendix.

Laparoscopic procedure: Laparoscopes, thin and flexible tubes containing cameras, are inserted through small incisions made into the abdomen. This allows the surgeon to look onto a TV monitor and see inside the abdomen to remove the appendix. A laparoscopic appendectomy may cause less scarring and less pain than an open procedure.

Patients receive either general or spinal anesthesia prior to an appendectomy.