Laparoscopy in children with complicated appendicitis

J Pediatr Surg. 2002 Sep;37(9):1317-20. doi: 10.1053/jpsu.2002.34998.


Background/purpose: Laparoscopic appendectomy is an accepted way of dealing with suspected uncomplicated appendicitis in children. The role of laparoscopy in complicated acute appendicitis is more controversial. The purpose of this trial was to compare laparoscopic appendectomy with open appendectomy in children with complicated appendicitis.

Methods: A total of 102 children with suspected acute appendicitis were selected randomly to undergo either a laparoscopic or an open appendectomy. The outcomes of 25 children with complicated appendicitis, 13 in the laparoscopic group and 12 in the open appendectomy group, were analyzed. Children, their parents, and research nurses were blinded to which procedure had been performed and remained blinded until the control visit 7 days after the operation. All 25 children completed a 30-day follow-up.

Results: There were no differences in terms of patients' age, sex, weight, height, and appendiceal histology between the 2 groups. All laparoscopic procedures were completed without conversion. The mean (+/-SD) operating time was 63 (+/-31) minutes in the laparoscopic group and 37 (+/-18) minutes in the open appendectomy group (mean difference 26 minutes, 95% CI 5 to 47 minutes, P =.02). There were 2 major complications in the laparoscopic group in children with appendiceal masses. One child had an entero-cutaneous fistula of the residual appendiceal tip that needed open reoperation. Another child had a pelvic abscess that resolved with antibiotic treatment. Superficial wound infections were encountered in 2 patients in the open appendectomy group.

Conclusions: Laparoscopic appendectomy is an alternative to open procedure in children with complicated appendicitis. Good surgical judgement is necessary in patients with an established appendiceal abscess.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Appendectomy / methods*
  • Appendicitis / complications
  • Appendicitis / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications