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Am J Surg. 2004 Dec;188(6):813-20.

Trends in utilization and outcomes of laparoscopic versus open appendectomy.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California, Irvine Medical Center, 101 City Drive, Orange, CA 92868, USA.



Although a number of trials have analyzed the outcomes of laparoscopic versus open appendectomy, the clinical advantages, and cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic appendectomy in the management of acute and perforated appendicitis are still not clearly defined. The aim of this study was to examine utilization and outcomes of laparoscopic versus open appendectomy using a national administrative database of academic medical centers and teaching hospitals.


Using ICD-9 diagnosis and procedure codes, we obtained data from the University HealthSystem Consortium Clinical Data Base for all patients who underwent appendectomy for acute and perforated appendicitis between 1999 and 2003 (n = 60,236). Trends in utilization of laparoscopic appendectomy were examined over the 5-year period. The outcomes of laparoscopic and open appendectomy were compared including length of hospital stay, 30-day readmission, complications, observed and expected (risk-adjusted) in-hospital mortality, and costs.


Overall, 41,085 patients underwent open appendectomy and 19,151 patients underwent laparoscopic appendectomy. The percentage of appendectomy performed by laparoscopy increased from 20% in 1999 to 43% in 2003 (P <0.01). Compared with patients who underwent open appendectomy, patients who underwent laparoscopic appendectomy were more likely female, more likely white, had a lower severity of illness, and were less likely to have perforated appendicitis. Laparoscopic appendectomy was associated with a shorter length of hospital stay (2.5 days vs 3.4 days), lower rate of 30-day readmission (1.0% vs 1.3%), and lower rate of overall complications (6.1% vs 9.6%). There was no significant difference in the observed to expected mortality ratio between laparoscopic and open appendectomy (0.5 vs 0.6, respectively). The mean cost per case was similar between the two groups (US$ 6,242 vs US$ 6,260).


Utilization of laparoscopic appendectomy at academic centers has increased more than two-fold between 1999 and 2003. Patients selected for laparoscopic appendectomy have less advanced appendicitis and have a shorter length of stay and fewer complications without increasing the inpatient care cost.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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