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Appendicectomy fact sheet

Appendicectomy

An appendicectomy is an operation to remove the appendix. The appendix is a small tube-shaped structure attached to the bowel.

Children are usually admitted to hospital for an appendicectomy because the appendix has become inflamed. This is condition is known as appendicitis.

The doctor may remove the appendix using a small incision or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. Your child will usually stay in hospital for two to three days after the operation although this may vary depending on individual circumstances.

After the operation

When your child arrives back to the ward they will have a drip running into a vein in their arm to provide them with fluids and there will be small dressings over their wounds.

They will be given pain relief such as paracetamol, as needed. Medicine can also be given through the drip if your child needs stronger pain relief.

Your child’s activities may be restricted on the day after the operation. They may be slow to move around and need some assistance.

When to eat and drink again

Your child can drink again once bowel activity restarts. However, they won’t be able to eat until seen by the doctor. Each child’s recovery is different but they should be eating normally by the time they go home.

Care at home

Your child will be sent home with a small dressing over their wound. The doctor or nurse will let you know when this can be removed.

Once home, your child will be able to have quick showers. Strenuous activities such as sport should be avoided for the first two weeks and your child should stay off school for the first week.

Contact the hospital if your child experiences:

  • a high temperature (above 37.5°C)
  • swelling, redness or ooze around the operation site
  • excessive vomiting (more than three or four times).

Follow-up visits

Your child’s stitches will dissolve over time and won’t need to be removed.

However, they will need to return to the Outpatient Clinic for a follow-up appointment. Appointment details will be provided before your child is discharged or posted to you.

Contact us

Surgical Day Unit
Queensland Children’s Hospital
Level 4C, 501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)

In an emergency, always call 000.

If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Resource No: FS225. Developed by Surgical Day Unit. Updated: February 2017. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.

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