The role of appendectomy at the time of laparoscopic surgery for benign gynecologic conditions

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The risk–benefit ratio of concurrent appendectomy at the time of gynecologic surgery has long been debated and remains controversial. However, emerging data on the appendix's role in chronic pain syndromes point to a previously unrecognized link between gynecologic disorders and appendicular pathology. In this article, we review the indications for appendectomy at the time of laparoscopic gynecologic surgery for the treatment of endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain.

Recent findings

The incidence of appendiceal endometriosis is highly variable depending on the patient population selected. Although rare in patients undergoing appendectomy for acute appendicitis, women with endometriosis may experience rates as high as 9.3–39.0%, especially when suffering from deep infiltrative endometriosis. Appendectomy may also significantly reduce pain in women with unexplained chronic pelvic pain.

Summary

Despite lack of prospective data, retrospective studies suggest that appendectomy during gynecologic procedures for chronic pelvic pain and severe endometriosis may be beneficial and necessary to fully address the treatment of these complex gynecologic conditions. In these clinical scenarios, the benefits of laparoscopic appendectomy at the time of the primary gynecologic procedure may outweigh the risks and cost, and should be discussed with patients preoperatively.

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