Laparoscopy-Assisted Single-Port Appendectomy in Children: Safe Alternative also for Perforated Appendicitis?

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Because of its low complication rate, favorable safety, cost-effectiveness, and technical ease, mono-instrumental, laparoscopy-assisted single-port appendectomy (SPA) has been the standard therapy for appendicitis in our department since its introduction 10 years ago. We report our experience with this technique and compare its outcome to open appendectomy (OA).

The records of all children who underwent appendectomy at our institution over a period of 8 years were analyzed retrospectively. Patient baseline data, markers of inflammation, operative time, length of hospital stay, complication rate according to the classification of Clavien-Dindo, and histologic grading were assessed to compare the 2 surgical techniques (SPA and OA). The chi square test, the Student's t test and the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test were used to analyze the data and the comparisons of the mean values. A P value < 0.05 was considered significant.

Overall, 975 patients were included in the study. A total of 555 children had undergone SPA and 420 had been treated by OA. Median operative time of SPA was longer than that of OA (60.8 min vs 57.4 min; P < 0.05). Length of hospital stay after SPA was shorter than after OA (4.4 days and 5.9 days, respectively; P < 0.001). The overall complication rate was lower for SPA than that for OA (4.0% vs 5.7%), but the difference of complications for SPA and OA was not statistically significant (P < 0.22). SPA was successfully performed in 85.9% of children. In 53.8% of patients with perforated appendicitis, no conversion was required. In the group of children with perforated appendicitis, the complication rate of ∼20% was independent of the surgical technique applied.

With respect to operative time, length of hospital stay, and postoperative complication rate, SPA is not inferior to OA. SPA is safe and efficient, even in the management of perforated appendicitis.

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