AAP papers| Volume 42, ISSUE 6, P939-942, June 2007

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Adhesive small bowel obstruction after appendectomy in children: comparison between the laparoscopic and open approach



      Adhesive small bowel obstruction (SBO) is a common postoperative complication. Published data in the pediatric literature characterizing SBO are scant. Furthermore, the relationship between the risk of SBO for a given procedure is not well described. To evaluate these parameters, we reviewed the incidence of SBO after laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) and open appendectomy (OA) performed at our institution.


      With institutional review board approval, all patients that developed SBO after appendectomy for appendicitis from January 1998 to June 2005 were investigated. Hospital records were reviewed to identify the details of their postappendectomy SBO. The incidences of SBO after LA and OA were compared with χ2 analysis using Yates correction.


      During the study period, 1105 appendectomies were performed: 477 OAs (8 converted to OA during laparoscopy) and 628 LAs. After OA, 7 (6 perforated appendicitis) patients later developed SBO of which 6 required adhesiolysis. In contrast, a patient with perforated appendicitis developed SBO after LA requiring adhesiolysis (P = .01). The mean time from appendectomy to the development of intestinal obstruction for the entire group was 46 ± 32 days.


      The overall risk of SBO after appendectomy in children is low (0.7%) and is significantly related to perforated appendicitis. Small bowel obstruction after LA appears statistically less common than OA. Laparoscopic appendectomy remains our preferred approach for both perforated and nonperforated appendectomy.

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