Is laparoscopic appendectomy in children associated with an uncommon postoperative complication?

F. Serour*, M. Witzling, A. Gorenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) is controversial due to the high rate of intraabdominal abscess (IAA). We report a postlaparoscopic appendectomy complication (PLAC) observed in pediatric patients discharged after an uneventful postoperative period. Methods: In this case series, a review of the medical records of children who underwent LA or open appendectomy (OA) during a 5-year period was performed. The diagnosis of PLAC was based on three well-defined criteria: time of appearance, clinical and laboratory findings, and ultrasonographic characteristic features. Results: A total of 374 patients underwent appendectomy (LA, 129 patients; OA, 245 patients). One patient with conversion of LA to OA and 35 patients with gangrenous or perforated appendicitis (seven from the LA group and 28 from the OA group) were excluded from the study. After LA, nine children developed intraabdominal complications during their hospitalization (six infiltrate in the right lower quadrant and three IAA); these were also excluded. Discharge from the department was done when three conditions were fulfilled: normal body temperature, normal leukocyte count, and passage of a stool. Among the 112 LA patients, PLAC was observed in 15 (13.4%), aged 12.5 ± 2.9 years, who were discharged after LA in 2.7 ± 0.9 days. Number of PLAC and time of its appearance were not significantly different in patients with normal or pathological appendix. Sonographic findings of PLAC at admission were fluid alone (n = 11), edematous mesenteric fat (n = 7), thickening of bowel wall (n = 9), and more than one sign (n = 9). At repeated sonography, these signs were present in all patients, and IAA developed in one of them. All children were successfully treated with antibiotics for 10.1 ± 3.9 days, one of whom underwent a CT-guided percutaneous drainage for IAA. Conclusions: PLAC may be the result of a slow development of local interstitial infection in the ileocecal area due to mesothelial damage caused by CO2 pneumoperitoneum and local thermal effect produced by energized systems. This may explain its delayed appearance and the efficacy of the antibiotic treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-922
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Appendectomy
  • Appendicitis
  • Children
  • Complications
  • Laparoscopy


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