Background: In 2012, a protocol for routine outpatient laparoscopic appendectomy for uncomplicated appendicitis was published reflecting high success, low morbidity, and significant cost savings. Despite this, national data reflect that the majority of laparoscopic appendectomies are performed with overnight admission. This study updates our experience with outpatient appendectomy since our initial report, confirming the efficacy of this approach.
Methods: In July 2010, a prospective protocol for outpatient laparoscopic appendectomy was adopted at our institution. Patients were dismissed from the postanesthesia recovery room or day surgery if they met predefined criteria for dismissal. Patients admitted to a hospital room as either full admission or observation status were considered failures of outpatient management. An institutional review board-approved retrospective review of patients undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy for uncomplicated appendicitis from July 2010 through December 2012 was performed to analyze success of outpatient management, postoperative morbidity and mortality, as well as readmission rates.
Results: Three hundred forty-five patients underwent laparoscopic appendectomy for uncomplicated appendicitis during this time frame. There were 166 men and 179 women, with a mean age of 35 years. Three hundred five patients were managed as outpatients, with a success rate of 88%. Forty patients (12%) were admitted for preexisting comorbidities (15 patients), postoperative morbidity (6 patients), or lack of transportation or home support (19 patients). Twenty-three patients (6.6%) experienced postoperative morbidity. There were no mortalities. Four patients (1%) were readmitted for transient fever, nausea/vomiting, partial small bowel obstruction, and deep venous thrombosis.
Conclusion: Outpatient laparoscopic appendectomy can be performed with a high rate of success, a low morbidity, and a low readmission rate. This study reaffirms our original pilot study and should serve as the basis for a change in the standard of care for appendicitis.
Level of evidence: Therapeutic study, level V.