Laparoscopic versus open appendectomy: a prospective randomized comparison

  • Wei H
  • Huang J
  • Zheng Z
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Whether laparoscopy offers a benefit over open surgery in the management of acute appendicitis or not remains a subject of controversy despite the publication of numerous randomized studies. This study aimed to compare laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) with open appendectomy (OA) and to ascertain its therapeutic benefit. METHODS: Adult patients older than 14 years presenting with signs and symptoms suggestive of acute appendicitis were randomized to undergo either LA or OA from January 2006 to December 2007. Comparisons were based on operating time, time until return to a general diet, time until return to normal activity and work, length of hospital stay, billed charges, and postoperative complications. RESULTS: The study enrolled 220 patients: 108 to undergo OA and 112 to undergo LA. The groups were similar in terms of clinicopathologic characteristics. The operating time seemed to be shorter for the OA patients than for the LA patients, but the difference was not significant (LA, 30 +/- 15.2 min vs. OA, 28.7 +/- 16.3 min; p > 0.05). The hospital stay of 4.1 +/- 1.5 days for the LA group and 7.2 +/- 1.7 days for the OA group, and the difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Laparoscopic appendectomy remained associated with a shorter time until return to a general diet (LA, 20.2 +/- 12.4 h vs. OA, 36.5 +/- 10 h; p < 0.05), to normal activity (LA, 9.1 +/- 4.2 days vs. OA, 13.7 +/- 5.8 days; p < 0.05), and to work (LA, 21.2 +/- 3.5 days vs. OA, 27.7 +/- 4.9 days; p < 0.05). The billed charges appeared to be higher for LA (LA, 5,720.3 +/- 115.7 yuan vs. OA, 5,310 +/- 575.4 yuan), but this difference failed to be clinically important or statistically significant (p > 0.05). Wound infections were more common after OA (n = 14) than after LA (n = 0) (p < 0.05). Intraabdominal abscesses occurred for two patients in the LA group and nine patients in the OA group (p < 0.05). Postoperative ileus occurred with frequencies of 0% in the LA group and 7.4% in the OA group (p < 0.05). The rate for overall complications was significantly lower in the LA group. CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic appendectomy is a useful tool in the treatment of acute appendicitis. Its advantages lie in its minimal invasiveness, its better cosmetic outcome, its lower rate of complications based on surgical expertise and state-of-the-art equipment. It can be recommended as an adoptable method for the routine patient with appendicitis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Laparoscopy/adverse effects/economics
  • *Laparotomy/adverse effects/economics
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Appendectomy/adverse effects/economics/*methods
  • Appendicitis/economics/surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications/epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Surgical Wound Infection/epidemiology
  • Young Adult

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  • H B Wei

  • J L Huang

  • Z H Zheng

  • B Wei

  • F Zheng

  • W S Qiu

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