Laparoscopic versus open appendectomy in pediatric patients with complicated appendicitis: a meta-analysis

Zhi Xuan Low, Glenn Kunnath Bonney, Jimmy Bok Yan So, Dale Lincoln Loh, Jun Jie Ng
Surgical Endoscopy 2019, 33 (12): 4066-4077

BACKGROUND: Acute appendicitis is a common condition in the pediatric population. In patients with uncomplicated appendicitis, laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) is preferred as compared to open appendectomy (OA). However, in patients with complicated appendicitis (CA), as defined as suppurative, gangrenous or perforated appendicitis, or appendicitis with periappendicular abscess formation, the decision to perform OA or LA remains unclear.

METHODS: The PRISMA guidelines were adhered to. An electronic database search from 1997 to 2017 was performed using the Cochrane, Medline, PubMed, Scopus, Ovid, Embase, and Web of Knowledge databases. Data analysis, including subgroup analysis of randomized-control trials, was performed using RevMan 5.3. Assessment of methodological and statistical heterogeneity, as well as publication bias of the included studies, was performed.

RESULTS: Six randomized-control trials (296 LA versus 373 OA) and 33 case-control trials (3106 LA versus 4149 OA) were analyzed. Compared to OA, LA has a shorter length of stay (WMD = - 0.96, 95% CI - 1.47 to - 0.45) and a lower rate of surgical site infection (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.25-0.54), although the rates of intraabdominal abscess formation were similar (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.71-1.43). LA was also shown to have lower readmission rates, lower incidences of postoperative ileus or intestinal obstruction, lower incidence of reoperation, as well as a shorter time taken to oral intake. Operative time for OA was shorter than LA (WMD = 12.44, 95% CI 2.00-22.87).

CONCLUSION: While studies in the past have associated LA with higher rates of intraabdominal abscess in patients with CA, our meta-analysis has shown that they were similar. Considering this, together with other improved postoperative outcomes, LA should be the procedure of choice in pediatric patients presenting with CA.

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