Surgeon (Pediatric) Questions Appendectomy

How long will my son take to recover from an abdominal surgery?

My son needed to have an appendectomy just last week and is now in recovery. The surgery was very successful, but approximately, how long would his recovery be?

3 Answers

In general, children recover quite quickly from surgical procedures. Children with appendicitis that is complex or perforated may take a while to recover from the illness that is unrelated to the operation. You should talk to your surgeon about how quickly your child should return to regular activities.
Recovery varies depending on which factor you are looking at. This is what I quote my patients (at least for someone who is young and healthy).

1 night in the hospital (occasionally home the same day)
Walking the day of surgery
In and out of bed, in and out of a car, up and down stairs- immediately.
3-10 business days off work. People who work desk jobs can return earlier than those doing manual labor
5-7 days of no driving. He can return to driving when he does not need to take prescription pain medication during the day, and when he feels comfortable turning from side to side.
Strenuous activity (sports, weight lifting, sexual activity) about 2 weeks, but ultimately whenever comfortable
About 80% recovered at 2 weeks.
Full recovery, meaning appetite and energy return to normal and vague aches and pains of surgery go away, may take about 4-6 weeks.
Have a question aboutAppendectomy?Ask a doctor now
There are two ways to do an Appendectomy: 1) through a short transverse (sideways) incision in the lower right side of the abdomen; or 2) laparoscopy which is frequently referred to as minimally invasive surgery which is the most common way today, especially if it was done by a pediatric general surgeon.
I am going to assume that your son's appendix was not ruptured. Because there is slightly more pain with the regular incision (#1) and it may take 1-2 days to be discharged from the hospital. Because of the incision, children's sports or other vigorous physical activity is usually limited for around 3 weeks.
If the procedure was done by laparoscopy, frequently children can be discharged from the hospital the next day. Also, because there are only 3 very small abdominal incisions the physical activity restrictions can be significantly reduced. Regardless of what procedure is performed, the children are usually back to normal in 1-2 weeks. I hope this helps.