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Laparoscopy in Complicated Pediatric Appendicitis

JSLS Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons
The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons
Publication Date
  • Scientific Papers
  • Education
  • Medicine


Background: Complicated appendicitis (gangrenous or perforated) has been associated with increased risk for postoperative complications, especially intraabdominal abscess. Caution has been advised when attempting laparoscopic appendectomy for complicated appendicitis in children. The objective of our study was to assess the incidence of intraabdominal abscess formation after laparoscopic appendectomy in pediatric patients presenting with complicated appendicitis. Methods: This is a retrospective review of 52 pediatric patients presenting with acute appendicitis at a single teaching institution who underwent laparoscopic appendectomy by a single surgeon. All laparoscopic procedures were completed without conversion. Treatment complications and outcomes were recorded for all cases. Results: Five of the 52 patients (10%) had complicated appendicitis. One of the 5 patients (20%) developed intraabdominal abscess postoperatively and underwent laparoscopic drainage during the same admission. No other complications were noted. None of these patients was readmitted for wound infections or intraabdominal abscesses. The single postoperative abscess occurred early during our initial experience with laparoscopic appendectomy. Conclusion: Laparoscopic appendectomy seems to be a safe alternative for the treatment of complicated appendicitis in children. Caution is recommended during the initial experience of surgeons with this procedure, because the complication rate seems to be higher during the learning curve. Close postoperative follow-up and a high index of suspicion for development of complications is recommended. As surgeons' experience accumulates, the safety of the procedure seems to increase. A prospective, randomized trial is recommended to establish the role of laparoscopy in complicated appendicitis in the pediatric population.

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