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Lancet. 1993 Sep 11;342(8872):633-7.

Laparoscopic versus open appendicectomy: prospective randomised trial.

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Department of Surgery, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories.


Randomised assessment of new laparoscopic surgical techniques is difficult. Surgeons need time to become experienced with the methods and tend, when they have experience, to favour one or other approach. We have carried out a prospective randomised comparison of laparoscopic and conventional appendicectomy done by surgeons of comparable experience in patients with suspected acute appendicitis. Postoperative management decisions were made by surgeons other than the operating surgeon. 140 patients were randomly assigned to open (OA) or laparoscopic (LA) appendicectomy (70 each). The age, sex ratio, duration of symptoms, and proportion of patients with histologically confirmed appendicitis was similar in the two groups. Operating time was longer for LA than for OA (mean 70.3 [SD 21.9] vs 46.5 [25.9] min; p < 0.001). There were no major intraoperative complications in either group. 14 (20%) patients in the LA group required conversion to an open operation. No significant differences between the groups were found postoperatively for pain score, analgesic requirement, time to reintroduction of diet, or hospital stay. 46 LA patients and 42 OA patients attended follow-up 3 weeks after surgery. Similar proportions had returned to work (36 [79%] vs 31 [74%]). The frequency of wound complications and wound pain after leaving hospital was lower after LA but not significantly so. We conclude that the postoperative course after LA and conventional OA does not differ significantly.

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