Reduced Social Morbidity of Laparoscopic Appendectomy in Children

September 2004
American Surgeon;Sep2004, Vol. 70 Issue 9, p779
Academic Journal
Laparoscopic appendectomy has not been uniformly adopted by pediatric surgeons. Our children's hospital adopted laparoscopic appendectomy due to perceived benefits to patients and their families. We hypothesized that laparoscopic appendectomy in children resulted in less social morbidity than those undergoing open appendectomy. A questionnaire focused on a set of postoperative variables affecting the patient's and the family's return to normal activities. Families expressed their answers as a range of days. Five different ranges were assigned a numerical value for 10 different social morbidity variables. The numerical values were analyzed using Pearson x² test; statistical significance was defined as P < 0.05. The response rate was 55 per cent (134 of 244). Seventy-four had open and 47 laparoscopic appendectomy with a comparable incidence of acute and perforated appendicitis. Children undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy had shorter hospital stays and earlier resumption of feeding, return to school, return to pain-free walking and stair climbing, and resumption of normal activities including gym. Additionally, they had fewer wound problems, shorter duration of oral pain medication usage, and their parents returned to work quicker than the open group. All these were statistically significant. Laparoscopic appendectomy results in significantly reduced social morbidity for children and their families.


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