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Depending upon the circumstances of the individual patient, an appendectomy can be performed in one of two ways, through an open incision or with a laparoscope.
In the open technique, an incision is made in the lower right side of the abdomen, through the skin, muscle wall, and peritoneum. The appendix is located and then carefully freed from the surrounding structures and removed.
In the laparoscopic technique, several small incisions are made in the abdomen. In one incision a laparoscope is inserted. The laparoscope has a tiny lens to which a TV camera is attached. The appendectomy is performed by the surgeon while looking at the TV monitor. Small instruments are inserted in the other incisions and used to remove the appendix.
Review Date 3/5/2020
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.