How Do I Care for an Appendectomy Incision?

The appendectomy incision is the cut through which the appendix is removed during the surgery. After an appendectomy, the incision needs to heal and should therefore be kept clean and re-bandaged regularly. A patient should also keep an eye on the incision area to make sure it does not become infected. Care for an appendectomy incision is similar whether the procedure was an open surgery or performed laproscopically. General care practices should always be followed to allow time for healing.
During a laproscopic appendectomy, three very small incisions are made in the abdominal area. A larger cut is made when an open appendectomy is performed. Open surgery is usually needed if the appendicitis is severe or the appendix has ruptured.
An appendectomy incision needs to be kept clean, but a patient shouldn’t soak the incision in a bath or get into a shower with it until she receives permission from her doctor. In the first few days after the surgery, the incision should be cleaned using a wet rag and soap. After cleaning it, the patient should thoroughly dry the incision before putting a new bandage on it.
It is important to change the bandage over an appendectomy regularly. A new bandage is required if the old one becomes wet or is visibly dirty. The incision may bleed a little but shouldn’t be bleeding profusely.
When cleaning the appendectomy incision or changing its bandage, a patient should closely examine the wound. Signs of an infection include redness as well as swelling around the cut. Discharge or profuse bleeding are other signs of infection or another problem. Some patients may have swelling in the abdominal area or a fever more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) if the incision becomes infected. If signs of infection are present, a patient needs to call his doctor right away.
In addition to keeping the appendectomy incision clean, a patient needs to give her body time to heal. Strain in the abdominal area can slow the healing of the incision. To avoid pulling out stitches or other injury, a patient shouldn’t climb up and down stairs, exercise vigorously, or attempt to lift heavy objects until her doctor gives her permission.
Generally, a patient can return to his everyday life within three weeks of an appendectomy. Eating a healthy diet helps the incision heal and improves overall healing. After a patient resumes his normal life, he will most likely have a scar or scars at the incision site.

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