Comparison of open and laparoscopic treatment of acute appendicitis

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Background: Appendectomy can be performed using either a laparoscopic or an open technique. This study compares the outcome of patients treated for acute appendicitis by open appendectomy with the outcome of those undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy. Methods: Patients undergoing appendectomy at The Mount Sinai Hospital between 1994 and 1998 were studied. Outcome of patients having open appendectomy was compared with that of patients having laparoscopic appendectomy. Results: Seven hundred fifty-eight patients underwent appendectomy for acute appendicitis during the 5-year study period. Two hundred seventy-one (36%) had open appendectomy and 487 (64%) had laparoscopic appendectomy. Patients subsequently found to have a normal appendix had the highest rate of laparoscopic appendectomy, whereas those with gangrenous appendicitis were most likely to have open appendectomy (P<0.05). There was a significant decline in the postoperative length of stay for open cases during the length of the study. In the final year, the difference in length of stay between open and laparoscopic appendectomy was only 1 day. Patients with gangrenous appendicitis had a significantly longer length of stay than did patients with a normal appendix or suppurative appendicitis. The hospital cost of laparoscopic appendectomy was greater than that for open appendectomy but the extra expenditure in the operating room was offset by the longer length of stay of the patients having open surgery. Conclusions: Differences in outcome between open and laparoscopic appendectomy are minor. In this study, more difficult cases with gangrenous appendicitis were more likely to require open appendectomy whereas milder forms of appendicitis, especially in women, were more likely to be treated by laparoscopy. Savings from the slightly shorter hospital stay after laparoscopic appendectomy are offset by the higher surgical cost of the laparoscopic equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-214
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Appendectomy
  • Appendicitis
  • Laparoscopy
  • Surgery


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