JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Laparoscopic appendectomy: an efficacious alternative for complicated appendicitis in children.

INTRODUCTION: Laparoscopic appendectomy is now well accepted for the treatment of uncomplicated appendicitis in children. Nevertheless, the effectiveness and safety of laparoscopy in cases with complicated appendicitis is still controversially discussed. This study evaluates outcomes of laparoscopic appendectomies in children presenting with complicated appendicitis.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Over a 5-year period (2002-2007), all children presenting to the authors with complicated appendicitis were approached laparoscopically using a standardized protocol and their intra-operative findings and postoperative outcomes were recorded.

RESULTS: Seventy-two consecutive laparoscopic appendectomies for complicated appendicitis were performed with no conversions. The average patient age was 8.5 years. The mean operating time was 45 min. There were no peri-operative complications. The overall rate of postoperative infectious complications was 8.3% (One child developed a large pelvic abscess required ultrasound-guided percutaneous drainage. Two children had multiple intra-abdominal abscesses that resolved with antibiotic treatment. Umbilical port-site infections were encountered in 3 patients). The average length of hospital stay was 5.7 days.

CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic appendectomy can be performed safely in children who present with complicated appendicitis. The procedure is efficacious and the complication rate is low.

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