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J Am Coll Surg. 2007 Jul;205(1):60-5.

Laparoscopic versus open appendectomy for complicated appendicitis.

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Department of Surgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong.



Laparoscopic appendectomy has been widely practiced for uncomplicated appendicitis; various reports demonstrated its merits in assisting diagnosis, reducing postoperative pain, analgesic requirement, and incidence of wound infection. The role of laparoscopy in management of complicated appendicitis, ie, gangrenous, perforated appendicitis and appendiceal abscess, remains undefined. Currently, the choice of operative approach is mostly at the surgeons' discretion. A retrospective study was conducted in our institution to review the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of laparoscopic appendectomy for patients with complicated appendicitis.


From January 1999 to January 2004, records of patients older than 14 years of age with diagnosis of appendicitis were retrieved from computer database for analysis. All patients underwent diagnostic laparoscopy to confirm diagnosis of complicated appendicitis, and patients subsequently underwent either laparoscopic or open appendectomies. Patients' demographics data and perioperative outcomes from the two groups were compared.


During the study period, 1,133 patients with acute appendicitis underwent operations in our institution. Two hundred forty-four patients (21.5%) with complicated appendicitis were identified by laparoscopy, of which 175 underwent laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) and 69 had open appendectomy (OA). Both groups of patients were comparable in demographics. Mean operative time was 55 minutes for LA group and 70 minutes for the OA group (p<0.001). Mean hospital stay was 5 days and 6 days for LA and OA group respectively (p<0.001). There was one conversion patient (0.6%) in the LA group who suffered from wound infection, and there were seven (10%) wound infections in the OA group (p=0.001). There were 10 cases (5.7%) of intraabdominal collection in the LA group and 3 (4.3%) in the OA group (p=0.473). There was no mortality in the current series.


Laparoscopic appendectomy for complicated appendicitis is feasible and safe. It is associated with a significantly shorter operative time, lower incidence of wound infection, and reduced length of hospital stay when compared with patients who had open appendectomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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