Clinical outcomes following identification of tip appendicitis on ultrasonography and CT scan

J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Jan;54(1):108-111. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.10.019. Epub 2018 Oct 5.


Background/purpose: With recent improvements in imaging technology, subtler variations in the anatomy of the appendix can be appreciated. We hypothesized that radiographic findings of tip appendicitis may not correlate strongly with a pathologic diagnosis of appendicitis.

Methods: Our radiology database was searched for reports of a diagnosis of tip appendicitis between January 2013 and June 2017 for patients between the ages of 2 and 17. Retrospective chart review was performed for demographic and clinical data, including outcomes. For patients managed operatively, the pathology results were reviewed for evidence of acute appendicitis. Patients managed nonoperatively and those with negative pathology were considered to not have appendicitis.

Results: Fifty-five patients met inclusion criteria (31 boys and 24 girls); 46/55 patients with tip appendicitis on imaging ultimately did not have appendicitis. Twenty-one patients underwent appendectomy, and 9/21 had pathologic evidence of appendicitis. One patient had a ruptured appendix. No other pathology was identified in the negative appendectomies. Two patients managed nonoperatively required readmission, but not secondary to missed diagnosis of appendicitis.

Conclusions: Ultrasound and CT findings of tip appendicitis may not accurately associate with a final diagnosis of acute appendicitis. Clinical judgment should ultimately dictate appropriate initial management, follow-up tests, and imaging.

Type of study: Diagnostic Study.

Level of evidence: Level III.

Keywords: Tip appendicitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Appendectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Appendicitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Appendicitis / surgery
  • Appendix / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*