Laparoscopic appendectomy in children: A favorable alternative in simple and complicated appendicitis

J Pediatr Surg. 2002 May;37(5):695-8. doi: 10.1053/jpsu.2002.32255.


Background/purpose: The laparoscopic treatment of pediatric appendicitis remains controversial, particularly in complicated cases (gangrene and perforation). This study evaluates outcomes of open (OA) and laparoscopic appendectomy (LA).

Methods: The 391 cases of pediatric appendectomy performed between January 1998 and January 2001 were reviewed for age, sex, weight, type and length of intervention, operative description, antimicrobial therapy, analgesia, complications, length of hospitalization, and histopathology.

Results: A total of 126 patients were operated on by laparoscopy, 262 by laparotomy, and there were 3 conversions (LA + OA). LA patients were older (11.9 v 9.6 years; P <.001) and more frequently girls (57.1% v 38.2%; P =.0004). LA took longer to perform (45.7 v 40.6 minutes; P =.0014). Operatively, 24.6% of LAs were described as complicated compared with 22.5% in OA. Narcotic use was equivalent in both groups (1.16 v 1.29 days; P =.434), as was the incidence of complications, either operative (1.6% v 0.4%; P =.20) or postoperative (10.3% v 8.02%; P =.32). Hospitalization was shorter in LA (2.38 v 2.94 days; P =.0131). Histopathology was negative in 21.4% of LAs compared with 13% of OAs (P =.032).

Conclusions: Laparoscopic appendectomy does not increase the incidence of complications, even with gangrenous or perforated appendicitis. The length of intervention is prolonged by 5 minutes on average. This technique allows for a shorter hospitalization.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Appendectomy / adverse effects
  • Appendectomy / methods*
  • Appendicitis / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome