Improved outcomes for laparoscopic appendectomy compared with open appendectomy in the pediatric population

Thomas M. Schmelzer, Ankur R. Rana, K. Christian Walters, H. James Norton, Daniel A. Bambini, B. Todd Heniford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Introduction: The appendectomy is a common emergent surgical procedure in the pediatric population. The aim of this study was to examine our institution's experience and outcomes in the appendectomy in the pediatric population early in our transition from open surgery to a predominantly laparoscopic approach. Methods: We retrospectively studied all pediatric patients (age <20 years) that underwent an appendectomy at a tertiary care center over 2 years. The data collected included patient demographics, comorbidities, operative details, outcomes, and complications. Results: Two hundred twenty-three consecutive patients, with a mean age of 9.5 (±3.9) years, were included in the study. Forty-four laparoscopic and 179 open appendectomies were performed. Two of the laparoscopic cases were converted to open appendectomies. Significant differences were seen between the two groups, with longer operative times (P < 0.0001) and lower estimated blood loss (P = 0.007) in the laparoscopic group. Operative times improved significantly for the laparoscopic group as the surgeons became more experienced (P = 0.03). The laparoscopic group used intravenous pain medication for a shorter time (0.8 vs. 1.9 days; P = 0.0003) and had a shorter postoperative hospital length of stay (2.2 vs. 3.4 days; P = 0.004). The laparoscopic group had fewer wound infections (2.3% vs. 6.2%; P = 0.3), intra-abdominal abscesses (4.5% vs. 5.6%; P = 0.8), and postoperative ileus (0% vs. 2.2%; P = 0.3), although these differences did not reach statistical significance. Conclusion: The laparoscopic appendectomy procedure is a safe alternative to open appendectomy in pediatric patients and results in shorter hospital stays with less postoperative pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-697
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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