Send to

Choose Destination
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD001546.

Laparoscopic versus open surgery for suspected appendicitis.

Author information

Biochemical & Experimental Division, Medical Faculty, University of Cologne, Ostmerheimer Str. 200, Cologne, Germany, 51109.

Update in



Laparoscopic surgery for acute appendicitis has been proposed to have advantages over conventional surgery.


To compare the diagnostic and therapeutic effects of laparoscopic and conventional 'open' surgery.


We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, SciSearch, the congress proceedings of endoscopic surgical societies.


We included randomized clinical trials comparing laparoscopic (LA) versus open appendectomy (OA) in adults or children. Studies comparing immediate OA versus diagnostic laparoscopy (followed by LA or OA if necessary) were separately identified.


Two reviewers independently assessed trial quality. Missing information or data was requested from the authors. We used odds ratios (OR), relative risks (RR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for analysis.


We included 54 studies, of which 45 compared LA (with or without diagnostic laparoscopy) vs. OA in adults. Wound infections were less likely after LA than after OA (OR 0.45; CI 0.35 to 0.58), but the incidence of intraabdominal abscesses was increased (OR 2.48; CI 1.45 to 4.21). The duration of surgery was 12 minutes (CI 7 to 16) longer for LA. Pain on day 1 after surgery was reduced after LA by 9 mm (CI 5 to 13 mm) on a 100 mm visual analogue scale. Hospital stay was shortened by 1.1 day (CI 0.6 to 1.5). Return to normal activity, work, and sport occurred earlier after LA than after OA. While the operation costs of LA were significantly higher, the costs outside hospital were reduced. Five studies on children were included, but the result do not seem to be much different when compared to adults. Diagnostic laparoscopy reduced the risk of a negative appendectomy, but this effect was stronger in fertile women (RR 0.20; CI 0.11 to 0.34) as compared to unselected adults (RR 0.37; CI 0.13 to 1.01).


In those clinical settings where surgical expertise and equipment are available and affordable, diagnostic laparoscopy and LA (either in combination or separately) seem to have various advantages over OA. Some of the clinical effects of LA, however, are small and of limited clinical relevance. In spite of the mediocre quality of the available research data, we would generally recommend to use laparoscopy and LA in patients with suspected appendicitis unless laparoscopy itself is contraindicated or not feasible. Especially young female, obese, and employed patients seem to benefit from LA.

Update of

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center