Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the complication rates of incidental appendectomies in women who undergo benign gynecologic procedures.
Study design: This was a retrospective case-controlled study of patients who did (n=100 women) or did not (n=100 women) undergo incidental appendectomies at the time of an abdominal hysterectomy between June 1995 and January 2001. Information was abstracted from hospital and clinic records and a gynecologic oncology database. Data were obtained about age, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, the number of days with nothing by mouth, the length of hospital stay, and postoperative complications (cellulitis, fever, ileus, pneumonia, thromboembolic disease). Data were analyzed with the use of two-sample t tests, Wilcoxon Rank sum tests, chi(2) tests, and multiple logistic regressions.
Results: There was no difference in preoperative diagnosis or operative procedure for either group. The number of patients in the group that did have incidental appendectomy versus the group that did not have incidental appendectomy with additional procedures at the time of abdominal hysterectomy was bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (66 vs 61 women), unilateral oophorectomy (19 vs 19 women), lysis of adhesions (9 vs 8 women), and others (12 vs 8 women). Compared with the group that did not have incidental appendectomy, the group that did have incidental appendectomy was younger (mean age+/-SD: 44+/-9.6 years vs 48+/-13.6 years, P=.02) and had a lower mean body mass index (26.1+/-6.0 kg/m(2) vs 29.8+/-8.9 kg/m(2), P=.0009). No significant differences were found between the two groups (the group that did have incidental appendectomy vs the group that did not have incidental appendectomy, respectively) with respect to the following postoperative complications: fever (40 vs 27 women), cellulitis (1 vs 2 women), wound collection (4 vs 6 women), wound dehiscence (1 vs 5 women), wound abscess (7 vs 6 women), ileus (3 vs 2 women), and urinary tract infection (4 vs 10 women). The mean length of hospital stay was significantly longer in the group that did have incidental appendectomy than in the group that did not have incidental appendectomy (3.6+/-1.52 days vs 3.1+/-1.1 days, P=.006). However, the difference was no longer significant when patients who were fed electively on the postoperative day 2 were excluded from the analysis (3.16+/-1.13 days vs 3.04+/-1.13 days, P=.507). Thirty-one percent of the histologic specimens were abnormal, with fibrous obliteration being most common, and there was one case of acute appendicitis.
Conclusion: An incidental appendectomy at the time of benign gynecologic procedures does not increase postoperative complication rates or length of hospital stay. The inclusion of incidental appendectomies in all abdominal hysterectomies could potentially decrease the morbidity and mortality rates because of appendicitis in elderly women.