What is the Appendicular Vein and What Does it Do?
The appendicular vein is a blood vessel that drains blood from the vermiform appendix, a narrow blind-ended tube attached to the cecum (the first part of the large intestine). The appendix contains a large amount of lymphoid tissue but is not thought to have any vital functions in the human body.
The appendicular vein is located in the mesoappendix, a fold of mesentery that suspends the appendix from the terminal ileum (the last part of the small intestine). The appendicular vein accompanies the appendicular artery, which supplies blood to the appendix. Both are branches of the ileocolic artery, which is derived from the superior mesenteric artery.
The appendicular vein drains into the ileocolic vein, which then joins the superior mesenteric vein to form the portal vein. The portal vein carries blood from the gastrointestinal tract and spleen to the liver, where it is processed and detoxified before returning to the systemic circulation.
The appendicular vein is innervated by the ileocolic branch of the superior mesenteric plexus, which contains sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic fibers arise from T10 of the spinal cord and convey pain signals from the appendix. This explains why early appendicitis, an inflammation of the appendix, causes visceral pain that is felt centrally in the abdomen.
The lymphatic fluid from the appendix drains into lymph nodes within the mesoappendix and into the ileocolic lymph nodes, which surround the ileocolic artery. The lymphatic system helps fight infections and remove waste products from the body.
The appendicular vein is an important component of the vascular and lymphatic drainage of the appendix. Although the appendix may not have a significant role in human physiology, it can still cause problems if it becomes inflamed or infected. In such cases, surgical removal of the appendix (appendectomy) may be necessary to prevent complications such as rupture, peritonitis, or sepsis.
Recovery After Appendectomy
After an appendectomy, you will need some time to recover and heal. The recovery time may vary depending on whether you had a laparoscopic or an open surgery, and whether your appendix was ruptured or not. Here are some general guidelines for what to expect after an appendectomy.
The first few days of recovery
In the days following your appendectomy, you may feel moderate pain in the areas near the incisions. Any pain or discomfort should improve within a few days. The hospital staff will give you pain medication as needed and teach you how to care for your wounds. You may also have some nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. These are common side effects of anesthesia and surgery and should resolve soon.
You will be encouraged to get up and walk around as soon as possible after surgery. This can help prevent blood clots, pneumonia, and constipation. You may also be given breathing exercises to do several times a day to keep your lungs clear.
You may be able to go home the same day or the next day after a laparoscopic appendectomy. If you had an open surgery or a ruptured appendix, you may need to stay in the hospital for two to five days. Before you leave the hospital, your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for yourself at home, such as when to change your dressings, how to shower or bathe, what activities to avoid, and what signs of infection to watch for.
The first few weeks of recovery
Once you are home, you will need to rest and take it easy for a few weeks. You should avoid driving, working, drinking alcohol, or making important decisions for at least 48 hours after surgery. You should also avoid strenuous activity, exercise, lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms), or having sex for at least a week after a laparoscopic surgery or longer after an open surgery.
You should eat a light and balanced diet that is easy to digest. You may want to avoid spicy, greasy, or high-fiber foods until your bowel function returns to normal. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and prevent constipation.
You should keep your incisions clean and dry and follow your doctor’s instructions on how to change your dressings. You may have dissolvable stitches that will disappear on their own, or regular stitches that will need to be removed by your doctor in about a week. You may also have staples that will need to be removed in about 10 days.
You should call your doctor if you have any signs of infection, such as fever, chills, redness, swelling, pus, or increased pain around your incisions. You should also call your doctor if you have any signs of complications, such as severe abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, bleeding from your wounds, difficulty urinating, or shortness of breath.
The long-term recovery
Most people recover fully from an appendectomy within four to six weeks. However, some people may have lingering effects from the surgery or the infection that caused the appendicitis. For example, some people may develop an abscess (a collection of pus) near the site of the appendix or in the abdomen. This may require another surgery or drainage procedure to treat.
Some people may also develop adhesions (scar tissue) that can cause pain or blockage in the intestines. This may require another surgery to remove the adhesions.
Some people may experience changes in their bowel habits after an appendectomy. They may have more frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, or gas. These changes are usually temporary and improve over time.
An appendectomy does not affect your ability to have children or cause any long-term health problems. However, if you had a ruptured appendix or a severe infection, you may have a higher risk of developing infertility or ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus). If you are planning to get pregnant after an appendectomy, talk to your doctor about your risks and options.