Laparoscopic appendectomy: An unnecessary and expensive prodedure in children?

Danny C. Little, Monford D. Custer, Brett H. May, Shannon E. Blalock, Donald R. Cooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Laparoscopic Appendectomy (LA) is a safe procedure in adults resulting in shorter hospitalization and sooner return to activity. The relative merits of LA and open appendectomy (OA) are evaluated in this first prospective and randomized study in children. Methods: A total of 129 children with appendicitis were included. Forty-three boys and 45 girls, age 1 to 16 years, were enrolled. Randomization was determined by sealed assignment card. OA utilized a 3- to 4-cm right lower quadrant, muscle-splitting incision. Wounds were closed without drains. Antibiotics, when used, consisted of gentamycin, clindamycin, and ampicillin. LA was performed by experienced surgeons utilizing a 3-trocar technique with reusable instruments. Twenty-one children (24%) were perforated. Patients were discharged as soon as they were taking a diet and afebrile. Statistical comparisons were by Fisher's Exact and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. Results: There were no differences in postoperative analgesia, resumption of oral intake, length of hospitalization, return to normal activities, or morbidity. Laparoscopic appendectomy was associated with longer operating times and increased cost. Conclusions: Laparoscopic appendectomy in children is not associated with the same advantages reported in adults. LA is a more expensive alternative and offers no advantages related to pain relief, length of stay, return to normal activities, or morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Laparoscopic appendectomy
  • Prospective randomized

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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