M. R. Cox, J. L. McCall, T. G. Wilson, R. T.A. Padbury, P. L. Jeans, J. Toouli

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30 Citations (Scopus)


The potential advantages of laparoscopic surgery for a number of abdominal operations including appendicectomy have been heralded. In this study the aims were to assess prospectively the role of routine diagnostic laparoscopy in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis and determine the efficacy of laparoscopic appendicectomy. Patients with suspected acute appendicitis had diagnostic laparoscopy. When the diagnosis was confirmed laparoscopic appendicectomy was performed. Where an alternative diagnosis was made the appropriate treatment was instituted. If no diagnosis could be made the macroscopically normal appendix was removed by laparoscopic appendicectomy. Eighty‐one patients (50 female, 31 male) had an initial diagnostic laparoscopy; 53 had appendicitis and proceeded to laparoscopic appendicectomy. A diagnosis could not be established at diagnostic laparoscopy in six patients and they also proceeded to laparoscopic appendicectomy. An alternative diagnosis was made in the remaining 22 patients (19 female and 3 male), with five proceeding to laparotomy and one patient with mesenteric adenitis having laparoscopic appendicectomy. Seven patients having laparoscopic appendicectomy required conversion to an open operation due to a retrocaecal3 or perforated4 appendix. The median operating time for successful laparoscopic appendicectomy was 55 min (range 30–95). Morbidity occurred in five of 53 patients having a successful laparoscopic appendicectomy. The median postoperative hospital stay was 2 days. The median time before return to normal activities was 8 days. Diagnostic laparoscopy is a useful diagnostic technique in women with suspected acute appendicitis, as it improves diagnostic accuracy, reduces the negative appendicectomy rate and avoids unnecessary laparotomy. Laparoscopic appendicectomy is a significant technical advance in the management of acute appendicitis. Preliminary results reveal similar morbidity to open appendicectomy with the potential advantages of a reduced postoperative hospital stay and a more rapid return to normal activities. Randomized trials are required to confirm this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-847
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • acute appendicitis
  • diagnostic laparoscopy
  • laparoscopic appendicectomy.


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