Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether copious irrigation of peritoneal cavity during laparoscopic appendectomy for complicated appendicitis effectively reduces the incidence of postoperative complications and improves the postoperative recovery in adults compared with suction alone.
Methods: In this prospective randomized trial, adult patients with complicated appendicitis were randomized to "irrigation and suction"(IS) group or "suction only"(SO) group. All surgery was performed with a standardized 3-port laparoscopic approach. The IS group received peritoneal irrigation with a minimum of 2000 mL sterile normal saline. The study primary outcomes included wound infection and postoperative intra-abdominal abscess. The study secondary outcomes included duration of operation, first anal exsufflation time, duration of hospital stay and hospital charges. Chi-squared and t-tests were used to analyze the study data.
Results: Between January 2015 and June 2016, a total of 260 patients with complicated appendicitis were enrolled in the study. The peritoneal irrigation resulted in a longer operation time (51.6 ± 16.1 vs. 41.5 ± 15.2 min, p <0.001). There was no significant difference in the rate of wound infection between the two groups. However, the patients who received irrigation had a lower postoperative intra-abdominal abscess rate (3.1% vs. 9.2%, p = 0.039), earlier anal exsufflation (25.2 ± 16.5 vs. 30.7 ± 18.1 hr, p = 0.011), shorter hospital stay (10.2 ± 2.5 vs. 12.5 ± 2.8 days, p <0.001) and lower hospital charges (¥14,592 ± 2,251 vs. 16,674 ± 2,163, p <0.001) compared to those received suction alone.
Conclusions: The study findings revealed that copious irrigation of peritoneal cavity during laparoscopic appendectomy could decrease the incidence of postoperative intra-abdominal abscess in adult patients with complicated appendicitis. These patients also had faster postoperative recovery and lower hospital charges.
Keywords: complicated appendicitis; intra-abdominal abscess; laparoscopic appendectomy; peritoneal irrigation; wound infection.