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Surg Endosc. 2013 Apr;27(4):1367-71. doi: 10.1007/s00464-012-2617-5. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Single-incision laparoscopic surgery in children: a randomized control trial of acute appendicitis.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, PO Box 016960, Miami, FL 33101, USA.



Single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) is a novel area of minimally invasive surgery that uses a single incision to minimize all ports to one site. The end result is an incision that can be strategically placed in the umbilicus for a perceived scarless abdomen. The authors rationalized that a randomized controlled trial was important given the rapid popularization of this approach.


An institutional review board-approved prospective randomized trial compared patients undergoing SILS (SILS-A) and conventional laparoscopic (LAP-A) appendectomy at a free-standing children's hospital during a median follow-up period of 2.2 years.


A total of 50 patients (50 % boys and 67 % Hispanics) were randomized equally to SILS-A and LAP-A. The patients ranged in age from 3 to 15 years without a difference between the two groups. Half (50 %) of these patients were younger than 8 years. The technique for SILS-A involved a single supraumbilical curvilinear skin incision with three fascial incisions. Ports were inserted to varying depths to minimize restriction of instrument movement. Coaxial visualization was improved by the use of a 30° scope. To achieve technical comparability with the LAP-A, a stapler device was used, which required upsizing a 5 mm port to a 12 mm port. The mean duration of the operation was 46.8 ± 3.7 min (range, 22-120 min) compared with 34.8 ± 2.5 min (range, 18-77 min) for standard LAP-A (p = 0.010). No conversions occurred, and the two groups did not differ in hospital length of stay. The postoperative complications consisted of one wound seroma in the SILS-A group (nonsignificant difference), and no hernias were seen. No difference in readmissions, diet tolerance, fever, or postoperative pain was noted between the two groups.


The findings show the SILS approach to be feasible in the pediatric population despite the limited abdominal domain in younger children. Although SILS operating room times currently are longer than for LAP-A, they are comparable, and no other outcomes differed appreciably between the two techniques at the time of hospitalization or during the follow-up period.

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