Changing trends in surgery for acute appendicitis

H. M. Paterson, M. Qadan, S. M. de Luca, S. J. Nixon, S. Paterson-Brown

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Laparoscopic appendicectomy (LA) offers faster recovery times and a reduced rate of wound infection compared with open appendicectomy (OA) but may be associated with more intra-abdominal abscesses. This study examines the changing trends in management of appendicitis in a regional setting during service reorganization and compares infective complication rates for each procedure.

Data were retrieved from the Lothian Surgical Audit database on 1824 patients treated for appendicitis by OA or LA during equal 31-month periods before and after service reorganization in August 2002. Outcome measures were duration of admission, recovery time from operation to discharge and reintervention for infective complications. Analysis was by intention to treat.

The rate of LA in Lothian increased from 29·9 to 39·4 per cent (P < 0·001) after subspecialist service reorganization. Recovery time from operation to discharge was significantly shorter after LA than OA when results were stratified with respect to sex (mean 2·5 versus 4·4 days respectively in women, P < 0·001; 2·7 and 3·1 days in men, P = 0·023), timing of surgery (2·7 versus 3·3 days before subspecialization, P = 0·007; 2·5 versus 3·6 days after subspecialization, P < 0·001) and whether appendicitis was associated with peritoneal contamination (2·2 versus 3·0 days for uncontaminated surgery, P < 0·001; 4·3 versus 5·1 days for contaminated surgery, P = 0·060). Peritoneal contamination at primary operation was the only independent risk factor that predicted reintervention for infective complications.

LA is associated with a shorter hospital stay from operation to discharge than OA, with no evidence of an increased rate of intra-abdominal infective complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


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