Appendicitis Surgery in Singapore (Symptoms, Causes and Treatments)
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, which is a small thin pouch about 4 to 8 centimetres long. An appendectomy is a common surgical emergency for treating appendicitis, which involves removing this organ.
The appendix is connected to the large intestine and is at the lower right side of the abdomen. While it has no known uses, when infected or inflamed, it must be surgically removed from the body, so as to avoid worsening infection or bursting.
Getting an appendicitis surgery in Singapore is vital for anyone who may be suffering from its symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Appendicitis?
Appendicitis has no known causes, but it typically starts with a pain in the middle of your abdomen (near the belly button) that may come and go. Soon, the pain travels to the lower right-hand side, where the appendix usually lies. As the inflammation persists, the pain becomes more constant and severe. Pressing on this area, coughing or walking may make the pain worse. You may develop a fever, lose appetite and even have diarrhoea.
Below are some of the more common signs and symptoms of appendicitis:
- Abrupt pain that starts on the right side of your lower abdomen
- Abrupt pain that starts in the belly button/navel area then shifts towards the lower right abdomen
- Appetite loss
- Low-grade fever that can worsen as the illness persists
- Stomach bloating
- Intestinal gas (excessive farting)
- Pain when coughing, walking, sneezing, etc
These symptoms may vary, depending on several factors such as age, pregnancy, and position of the appendix. For example, appendicitis in pregnant women may start off as a painful sensation in the upper abdomen. This is because the appendix’s location is much higher during pregnancy.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Appendicitis?
Appendicitis surgery in Singapore is necessary for people suffering from this condition. Gender is a significant risk factor, which means males are more likely to be diagnosed with appendicitis, than females. Other risk factors include age, family history, and sex.
Without early intervention, the appendix may become blocked, causing bacterial infection, swelling, and interrupted blood flow.
As mentioned, medical experts still don’t know the exact causes of appendicitis. However, they believe it occurs when the appendix is partly blocked, due to:
- Excessive stool buildup
- Enlarged lymphoid follicles
- Intestinal worms
- Injury due to trauma
How Is Appendicitis Diagnosed?
You will need to disclose with your doctor any information regarding your symptoms and family history, if they suspect you have appendicitis. Appendicitis is often diagnosed from your medicalthe history and examination. Often, a CT scan may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. A CT scan can provide around a 90% accurate reading when diagnosing acute appendicitis.
Appendicitis diagnosis may also be performed through the following methods:
- Blood test – Patients who have appendicitis will often have a higher WBC (White Blood Cell) count than those who don’t. A blood test may also show high C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels, which means there’s inflammation in the body.
- Urine test – Doctors may require a urine sample to rule out other infections and diseases, like UTI (Urinary Tract Infection or kidney stones.
- Pelvic examination – Appendicitis symptoms are often similar to those of a pelvic inflammatory disease or ovarian cyst. Your doctor may conduct a pelvic examination, on your cervix, vulva, vagina, uterus, and ovaries to rule out inflammation.
- Pregnancy test – Expecting patients may mistake an ectopic pregnancy for appendicitis. This is when a fertilised egg implants itself and grows in the fallopian tube, rather than the uterus. A pregnancy test allows your doctor to also rule out an ectopic pregnancy before diagnosing you with appendicitis.
What Is The Treatment For Appendicitis In Singapore?
Surgery is the standard of care for those with appendicitis. An appendectomy should be done as soon as possible to prevent further complications.
Mild cases of appendicitis may usually be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor will closely monitor any improvement in your condition, as surgery may be necessary if medical treatment fails. Even if antibiotics improve the condition, stopping antibiotics often results in a relapse. Hence surgery is still the treatment of choice,
An appendectomy is most commonly carried out laparoscopically (also known as keyhole surgery). Several small cuts are made in the abdomen, allowing special surgical instruments to be inserted. The main advantage of laparoscopic appendicectomy is a faster recovery with less pain. It is minimally invasive and in uncomplicated cases, patients can go home the next day with minimal complications.
Open surgery, where a larger, single cut is made in the abdomen, is usually used if the appendix has burst or if the appendix is deemed too difficult to be removed laparoscopically. Sometimes, an abdominal drain is inserted to drain out any remnant infection and to prevent an abscess (collection of pus).
It usually takes a couple of weeks to make a full recovery after your appendix has been removed. However, strenuous activities may need to be avoided for up to 6 weeks after having surgery.
What Are The Complications Of Appendicitis Surgery In Singapore?
But like all types of surgery, there are some risks to an appendectomy, including:
- Wound Infection – Although antibiotics will be given before, during or after the operation to minimise the risk of serious infections.
- Scarring – surgery will leave some scarring where the incisions were made. (This is more common for open surgery than in a laparoscopy)
- Buildup of pus (abscess) – An infection caused by the appendix bursting can lead to an abscess after surgery even if a drain has been used.
- Incisional Hernia – at the site of the open incision or any of the incisions used in keyhole surgery.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
If you receive only antibiotic treatment for your appendicitis, call your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms again, especially constipation, fever, infected incision, and severe pain in your lower right abdomen.
What Should I Ask My Doctor If I Have Appendicitis?
You may need to ask these questions to your doctor, especially if you suspect you have appendicitis:
- Will I need surgery?
- How long will recovery take?
- Can I go back to school or work?
- Should I make changes to my diet?
- How are the symptoms of appendicitis different from other abdominal issues?
- What other complications should I look out for after an appendectomy?
Conclusion About Appendicitis Surgery In Singapore
Appendicitis can be severe without immediate medical attention. This is because a burst appendix can cause infection in the abdomen, known as peritonitis or a bacterial inflammation of the peritoneum (the membrane that forms the inner wall of the abdomen).
If you think you’re suffering from these symptoms, it’s best to contact a professional surgeon, like Dr QM Leong. He can diagnose your condition and recommend appendicitis surgery in Singapore, if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions About Appendicitis Surgery In Singapore
The cost of an appendectomy or appendicitis surgery in Singapore may range from $4,200 to $7,000. These figures don’t include additional expenses for hospitalisation, anaesthesia, insurance, and other medical reimbursements.
A laparoscopic appendectomy can be performed in one hour, but the patient may need to spend one to two days of recovery in the hospital.
Yes, an appendectomy or appendicitis surgery is an urgent medical surgery. The doctor will need to remove your appendix immediately to prevent rupture and infection.
No. Delaying your appendix surgery can increase your risk of developing life-threatening complications. Your doctor will likely recommend an immediate appendicectomy, as delaying surgery is not medically advised.