Late Abdominal Complaints after Appendectomy - Readmissions during Long-Term Follow-Up

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Background/Aims:The postoperative risk of small bowel obstruction is a recognized complication following appendectomy. Few studies have reconsidered the whole extent of abdominal complaints and problems following appendectomy. This study tries to evaluate the long-term outcome describing abdominal complaints requiring readmission following appendectomy.Methods:A retrospective study of 3,230 patients undergoing open appendectomy at a single center university hospital in Sweden between 1981 and 1996. Late (>30 days) readmissions were noted and the cause for readmission and need for surgical intervention were analyzed.Results:Overall, late readmissions occurred in 2.94% during a median follow-up of 10 years after appendectomy. Females predominated among those readmitted, as did patients with complicated appendicitis or a ‘normal’ appendix. Nonspecific abdominal pain with no sign of small bowel obstruction caused almost half of the readmissions (45%). To a large extent this group consisted of females (76%). Small bowel obstruction was seen in 1.24% and was surgically treated in 0.68% of all appendectomies. Incisional hernias were also seen (0.4% of all appendectomies).Conclusion:The magnitude of readmissions due to abdominal complaints is more pronounced than previously reported with as many patients with signs of small bowel obstruction managed nonoperatively as surgically, and frequent readmissions due to nonspecific abdominal pain.

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