Wound management in perforated appendicitis

Am Surg. 1999 May;65(5):439-43.


Open wound management after perforated appendicitis was common practice but, recently, primary closure has been advocated to reduce costs and morbidity. Hospital records from 319 adults who underwent appendectomy from 1993 to 1996 were reviewed to identify surgical wound infections (SWIs) and examine risk factors. Information about age, length of stay (LOS), operative time, white blood cell count, and antibiotic administration were obtained. Perforation was either noted at operation or identified microscopically by the pathologist. If primary wound closure was performed, patients with acute appendicitis and perforation had a 4-fold higher readmission rate, a 5-fold increase in SWI, and twice the LOS compared with patients with acute appendicitis without perforation. Patients with grossly perforated acute appendicitis had no difference in LOS if the wound was treated open or closed primarily. No patient with microscopic perforation and primary wound closure developed SWI. Primary wound closure after acute appendicitis was safe in the absence of clinical perforation. In the presence of clinical appendiceal perforation the wound should be left open.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Appendectomy*
  • Appendicitis / complications*
  • Appendicitis / pathology
  • Appendicitis / physiopathology
  • Appendicitis / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Perforation / etiology*
  • Intestinal Perforation / physiopathology
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surgical Wound Infection / complications
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Wound Healing*