The significance of occult carcinoids in the era of laparoscopic appendectomies

Ron Shapiro, Shai Eldar, Eran Sadot, Moris Venturero, Moshe Z. Papa, Douglas B. Zippel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: We present data acquired in our institution about the incidence of incidental appendiceal carcinoids over a period of 16 years. The possibility of occult carcinoids raises the question of appendectomy of a noninflamed appendix during diagnostic laparoscopy for suspected appendicitis. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart analysis of the surgical registry of a university-affiliated tertiary care center of a major population area for the past 16 years. Data were collected on all patients (n = 7592) who underwent appendectomy for the presumed diagnosis of acute appendicitis. Outcome measures were the incidence of incidental carcinoids of the appendix found during appendectomies and whether the introduction of laparoscopic appendectomy should alter the surgical management of a normal-appearing appendix. Results: A total of 20 carcinoid appendices were resected by open surgery and 17 by laparoscopy. The diagnosis of a carcinoid tumor was not suspected in any patient before the operation, nor was a tumor identified at the time of the operation. In 6 (16%) patients the appendix appeared normal at the time of the operation. Conclusions: It has long been the standard of care to remove any appendix found in laparotomy for suspected appendicitis, but it is not clear what should be done during laparoscopy for suspected appendicitis when the appendix appears normal. Our data confirm the presence of occult carcinoids in normal-appearing appendices. Further studies are needed to determine the clinical significance of this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2197-2199
Number of pages3
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Appendicitis
  • Carcinoid
  • Incidental tumor
  • Laparoscopic appendectomy


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