Ryan Lochte Undergoes Appendicitis Surgery as His Wife Kayla Offers 'Moral Support'

“Surgical removal of the appendix is the traditional standard procedure because once it is infected, the appendix may rupture, spreading infection throughout your abdominal cavity and becoming life-threatening,” said Stork.

Patients can either have an appendectomy — an open surgery using a 2- to 4-inch incision — or laparoscopic surgery with a small incision. “In general, laparoscopic surgery allows you to recover faster and heal with less pain and scarring, but if your appendix has ruptured and infection has spread beyond the appendix or you have an abscess, you may need an open appendectomy and cleaning of the abdominal cavity,” he explained.

Once the appendix is removed, it takes a couple of weeks to recover, then “most people have no long-term side effects or complications,” Stork said.

In August 2019, Lochte opened up about his decision to seek alcohol treatment in Florida in 2018 for about six weeks. The 12-time Olympic medalist said at the U.S. National Championships at the time that he has a new outlook on life.

“I think it was getting to a point in my life where I needed a change,” he recalled. “… Since Caiden and my new daughter Liv has been born I have a new perspective on life and I’m definitely not the same person that I was."

“I went there because I needed help. I need to change some things in my life,” he added. “That’s what I went there for and I came out a better man.”

Lochte is currently training to swim at next year's Olympics, which were delayed from this summer due to the pandemic. The athlete told PEOPLE last month that he is "trying to prove to everyone that I can do this — you could say this is my redemption."

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