Key words: Abdominal pain — Appendicitis — negative appendicectomy rate — Histology
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Background: Healthy-looking appendixes are often removed at laparoscopy for suspected appendicitis. This practice may have adverse secondary effects. Methods: We reviewed the literature for the years 1978 to 1998 to analyze the negative appendectomy rates, complication rates, the accuracy of laparoscopic appendix assessment, and the incidence of false negative diagnosis of appendicitis at surgical and gynecological laparoscopy. Results: The respective negative appendectomy rates were 22% and 15% in studies that compared laparoscopic with open appendectomy. The appendix was left in situ in 37% of 4,281 surgical diagnostic laparoscopies. There were instances of missed appendicitis among the 3,367 gynecological diagnostic laparoscopies performed on women for lower abdominal pain, and there were 188 appendectomies in this group. Studies comparing the macroscopic appearance of the appendix at operation with microscopic findings from the excised specimen had a false negative error rate of 3%. Conclusions: Contrary to general opinion, there is no substantial evidence to support the assumption that the macroscopic diagnosis of appendicitis is unreliable. High rates of conflicting diagnoses of excision specimens suggest that endoappendicitis has little clinical significance. At present, negative appendectomy rates are considerably higher for laparoscopic appendectomy than for the open approach. The role of diagnostic laparoscopy in suspected appendicitis should be reconsidered. It may be useful in particular subgroups of patients, but it is no substitute for good clinical judgment. Furthermore, it is not always necessary to perform an incidental appendectomy.
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