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Conventional three-incision laparoscopic appendectomy (CTLA) is considered the new golden standard for the treatment of acute appendicitis. However, single-incision laparoscopic appendectomy (SILA) can further reduce the number of abdominal incisions and visible scars.Major databases were researched for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) comparing SILA and CTLA for acute appendicitis from January 1983 and to March 2015. The technical feasibility, effectiveness, and safety between SILA and CTLA were compared. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and weighted mean differences (WMDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using fixed- or random-effects models.In total, 11 RCTs with 1489 patients were analyzed. The patients in the SILA group had a significantly shorter hospital duration (WMD: –0.63; 95% CI: –1.04, –0.21; P = 0.003) and return to activity (WMD: –2.91; 95% CI: –5.45, –0.37; P = 0.02) but experienced a longer operating time (WMD: 6.56; 95% CI: 3.55, 9.58; P < 0.0001) and higher rate of conversion (OR: 6.82; 95% CI: 3.14, 14.79; P < 0.00001). There were no differences between the two groups in visual analog pain scores, doses of analgesics, overall complication rates, wound infection, or cosmesis (all P > 0.05).SILA is a safer and more effective than CTLA in both pediatric and adult patients.