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Ann Surg. 1994 Jun;219(6):725-8; discussion 728-31.

A prospective randomized trial comparing open versus laparoscopic appendectomy.

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Department of General Surgery, Scott and White Memorial Hospital, Sherwood, Texas.



The authors determined whether there was an advantage to laparoscopic appendectomy when compared with open appendectomy. SUMMARY/BACKGROUND DATA: The advantages of laparoscopic appendectomy versus open appendectomy were questioned because the recovery from open appendectomy is brief.


From January 15, 1992 through January 15, 1993, 75 patients older than 9 years were entered into a study randomizing the choice of operation to either the open or the laparoscopic technique. Statistical comparisons were performed using the Wilcoxon test.


Thirty-seven patients were assigned to the open appendectomy group and 38 patients were assigned to the laparoscopic appendectomy group. Two patients were converted intraoperatively from laparoscopic appendectomies to open procedures. Thirty-one patients (81%) in the open group had acute appendicitis, as did 32 patients (84%) in the laparoscopic group. Mean duration of surgery was 65 minutes for open appendectomy and 87 minutes for laparoscopic appendectomy (p < 0.001). There were no statistically significant differences in length of hospitalization, interval until resumption of a regular diet, or morbidity. Duration of both parenteral and oral analgesic use favored laparoscopic appendectomy (2.0 days versus 1.2 days, and 8.0 days versus 5.4 days, p < 0.05). All patients were instructed to return to full activities by 2 weeks postoperatively. This occurred at an average of 25 days for the open appendectomy group versus 14 days for the laparoscopic appendectomy group (p < 0.001).


Patients who underwent laparoscopic appendectomies have a shorter duration of analgesic use and return to full activities sooner postoperatively when compared with patients who underwent open appendectomies. The authors consider laparoscopic appendectomy to be the procedure of choice in patients with acute appendicitis.

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