Surgery to remove the appendix is usually performed on an emergency basis when a patient has been diagnosed with appendicitis (an inflamed or infected appendix). The surgery may be accomplished via an open or laparoscopic (minimally invasive) method. In an open appendectomy, the surgeon makes a two- to three-inch incision in the lower right abdomen, while in a laparoscopic appendectomy, the operation is performed via several much smaller incisions. While not all patients will be good candidates for the minimally invasive approach, those who are may be able to leave the hospital on the same day as their procedure. Patients undergoing appendix removal via the open method may require a hospital stay of at least one night. In both cases, patients can return to normal activities within a few days, but are instructed to refrain from strenuous exercise for up to six weeks.