Got My Appendix Removed! How Long Until I’m Better After An Appendectomy?!

All right, appendectomy recovery time and getting back to work.

My name’s Dr. Buck Parker. I’m a board certified general surgeon, and what we’re gonna talk about is appendectomy recovery time and getting back to work because a lot of my patients wanna know, hey Doc, when can I get back to work after my appendectomy?

First, we’re gonna talk about what an appendectomy is. The appendix is a little tubular structure hanging off the side of the colon, which is on the right side, we call the right lower quadrant. Kind of a little bit below your belly button towards the pubic bone. Actually, in between the belly button and the pubic bone is usually where to get your pain. The appendix lives there. What happens is sometimes it gets infected, it gets irritated, and we have to take it out. We do this surgery called laparoscopic surgery, or some people call it, keyhole surgery. We make little incisions, one in the belly button and a couple around the other parts of the abdomen. I make mine in the left lower quadrant as well as just above the pubic bone. We put a camera in the belly button incision, and we use instruments in the other ports to take the appendix out.

Basically, folks are able to go home the same day of the surgery. For me, if somebody comes in late at night, like it’s eight, nine, 10 o’ clock, I do the surgery. They’re here, they’re recovering for a couple hours. I just usually have them stay the night. But it is safe to go home the same day after an appendectomy. It’s been proven in a lot of different studies. If you say you’re going in the morning or 10 o’ clock you have your surgery, it’s okay to go home after. That’s part of your recovery there is how long you’re gonna be in the hospital. I would say on average, though, most people are in the hospital overnight. But that trend is moving towards a day surgery. If it’s more complicated, if you’ve been sick for a really long time, then that’s kind of out the window. These are for very simple early appendicitis surgeries.

Once you get out of the hospital, then usually I tell folks to take it easy at home for a couple days. You will be a little tired. You won’t be…want to run a marathon or anything, but you aren’t gonna just be laying there too. You’ll be able to do stuff at home. You’ll just be a little bit tired, a little bit sore.

Getting back to work is really what we’re talking about here, and that all depends on what exactly you do. I tell people, as a rule of thumb, they shouldn’t lift anything more than about 20 pounds for at least two to four weeks. Now the two to four weeks depend on who you are, what kind of physical activity you were doing prior to the operation, and what kind of physical strength you had prior to the operation as well. That plays into going back to work. If you are somebody that does not do any exercise and has a desk job or something like that, then maybe I’ll tell you to wait four weeks to start lifting really heavy stuff. But you have a desk job so you’re not lifting heavy stuff at work, so you can probably go back to work within three to four days, depending on how you’re feeling. Now some people wanna get back to work right away and say okay well, I had my surgery on Friday; I wanna go back to work on Monday. Some people can do that and some people can’t. It’s not anything to do with – we’re talking about a desk job here – it’s not anything to do with your specific job or the surgery. But you may feel really tired that third day or that Monday and be like, oh man, I’m just so whipped. I don’t know what happened. Or you may feel really good. It’s kind of dependent person-to-person. Now if you’re somebody that is lifting heavy stuff all day, every day at work. Like you’re a post office – it’s not a post officer, but a UPS guy who’s lifting these packages all day and very active, I would say you should probably take at least a week off of work. Maybe even longer. I would say you definitely need to wait a couple weeks to lift more than 20 pounds.

I hope that gives you sort of an idea. It’s really dependent on the person. But in general, I would say on average, people are out of work for five days-ish. Some people are three days, and some people are seven days. Some people even two weeks, depending on what their job and their physical activity was beforehand.

That is all based on, also, the ports or the incisions. In my surgery, the big port or the bigger incision – it’s only 12 millimeters – but the bigger incision is in the belly button and what happens is, the reason we’re saying not to do too much too early is because if you tear that belly button incision, ’cause obviously we put it back together so we’re sewing the layers of the belly button incision. It’s not the skin, actually, but it’s the layer deeper. It’s called the fascia; that’s the strong layer of the abdominal wall. We sew that together, and we wanna make sure that heals good. If that heals good, then you won’t need another surgery which is called a hernia surgery. You can look at my other videos to find out what a hernia is and what those are about. But if you do too much too fast, you can pull the sutures. You can rip the tissue, and you can open a hole there underneath the skin and then later you may need a hernia surgery.

If you have an appendectomy, you just want one surgery not two surgeries. Take it easy. Follow the doctor’s rules. Of course, I’m not your doctor. Go talk to your doctor ’cause he’s gonna know you best. But if you do wanna follow me, you should do that. You should subscribe to my channel or check me out on www.drbuckparker.com.

All right. I’ll talk to you later.

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