Background: Cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is an early marker of systemic inflammatory response and tissue damage. This study aimed to evaluate the levels of IL-6 after open and laparoscopic appendectomy to compare the degree of surgical stress associated with these procedures.
Methods: The levels of IL-6 were measured pre- and postoperatively in the plasma of 37 consecutive patients with a diagnosis of acute appendicitis. After preoperative randomization, 22 patients underwent open appendectomy, and 15 patients underwent laparoscopic appendectomy.
Results: The preoperative concentrations of IL-6 were 7.2 +/- 5.6 pg/ml in the open appendectomy group, as compared with 12.1 +/- 9.7 pg/ml in the laparoscopic appendectomy group (p < 0.05). The postoperative levels were 16.9 +/- 15.7 and 23.2 +/- 19.4 pg/ml, respectively. The mean postoperative to preoperative ratio of IL-6 was slightly higher for open (2.7 +/- 2.4) than for laparoscopic (2.3 +/- 1.6) appendectomy, but the difference did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusion: The operative stress in open as compared with laparoscopic appendectomy is not reflected by circulating levels of IL-6.