- Research article
- Open Access
Laparoscopic appendectomy in the elderly: our experience
- Alessia G Ferrarese1Email author,
- Valter Martino†1,
- Stefano Enrico†1,
- Alessandro Falcone†1,
- Silvia Catalano†1,
- Giada Pozzi†1,
- Silvia Marola†1 and
- Mario Solej†1
© Ferrarese et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
Published: 8 October 2013
Laparoscopic appendectomy for acute appendicitis is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the world. We aimed to compare laparoscopic and open appendectomy in the elderly in our experience.
We performed a retrospective review of elderly patients who underwent appendectomy for acute appendicitis from 1st of January 2006 to the 31st of July 2012. We analyzed 39 appendectomies in elderly patients: 20 procedures were performed using open technique (Group O) and 19 using laparoscopic technique (Group L).
In the analysis of intraoperative variables there was no statistically significant difference. In this study there was no statistically significant difference also in peri-operative variables.
Laparoscopic appendectomy is a safe and feasible technique in acute appendicitis also in the elderly.
Laparoscopic appendectomy for acute appendicitis is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the world [1–3]. The first surgeon performing a laparoscopic appendectomy was Semm in UK in 1983 . Acute appendicitis in the elderly is a surgical disease that could create important diagnosis problems [5–9] as far as concerns the atypical presentation [3, 10–18].
We aimed to present our experience about a series of laparoscopic appendectomies in elderly patients and analyze the feasibility of laparoscopic technique in comparison with open techinique.
From the 1st of January 2006 to the 31st of July 2012 we performed 208 appendectomies in our division of General Surgery: 39 of these were performed in elderly patients (age > 65 yrs, 30 M 9 F). In the elderly group, 20 procedures were performed using open technique (Group O) and 19 using laparoscopic technique (Group L).
The analyzed variables were: sex, symptoms, CT or US evaluation, total hospital stay, hospital stay after and before the procedure, kind and duration of procedure, conversion to open procedure, drain and final pathological results.
Statistical proportions related to the dichotomic variables (gender distribution in the different patient groups, number of post-operative complications, conversion rate, number of drains, presence of fever, wall thickening, amount of effusion, presence of appendix perforation) were compared using Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test.
Continuous variables like age distribution, post-operative hospital stay time, surgery duration and several haematochemical characteristics (WBC, CRP) were expressed as average (range) and analyzed using the Mann-Witney U test. Patients distribution according to different surgical teams was confirmed. All statistical analyses were performed using R software (version 2.6.2), and a p value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Mean age (yrs)
Surgical data (ns: not significative)
Mean operative time (min)
Presence of perforated appendix
Peri-operative data data
Pre-operative stay (days)
Post-operative stay (days)
Total hospital stay (days)
Residents performed 3 surgical procedures (8,57%), and in 17 cases the resident was in equipe as second operator, with a total resident's presence in the Surgical Team of 51,28% of cases.
The follow-up was 19 months; the only post-operative complication was a wound infection in a open appendectomy, resolved with antibiotic therapy. There was no mortality.
In our experience we assist to an inversion of surgical approach in acute appendicitis, with a gradual increase of laparoscopic procedures. In spite of slightly longer time of procedure, there was no significant difference in number of post-operative complications, number of drains, duration of surgical procedure and total hospital stay in laparoscopic appendectomy and open procedure [19–21]. Laparoscopic appendectomy is to be considered an advanced surgical procedure: anatomical variability and unpredictable difficulties make the procedure not standardizable.
We consider surgery approach more difficult in the elderly in some cases  but we also considered laparoscopic approach is, in general, a safe and feasible technique in acute pathology  and a safe approach also in the elderly [24, 25]. Laparoscopic appendectomy for acute appendicitis is a gold standard technique also in the elderly.
Funding for this article came from personal funds.
This article has been published as part of BMC Surgery Volume 13 Supplement 2, 2013: Proceedings from the 26th National Congress of the Italian Society of Geriatric Surgery. The full contents of the supplement are available online at http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcsurg/supplements/13/S2
- Addiss DG, Shaffer N, Fowler BS, Tauxe RV: The epidemiology of appendicitis and appendectomy in the United States. Am J Epide-miol. 1990, 132: 910-25.Google Scholar
- Temple CL, Huchcroft SA, Temple WJ: The natural history of appen-dicitis in adults: a prospective study. Ann Surg. 1995, 221: 278-81. 10.1097/00000658-199503000-00010.PubMed CentralView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Gurleyik G, Gurleyik E: Age-related clinical features in older pa-tients with acute appendicitis. Eur J Emerg Med. 2003, 10: 200-3. 10.1097/00063110-200309000-00008.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Semm K: Endoscopic appendectomy. Endoscopy. 1983, 15: 59-64. 10.1055/s-2007-1021466.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lim CY, Ree JK, Jeong YC, Chae KM: A comparative study of the appendicitis in different age groups. J Korean Surg Soc. 1988, 35: 207-14.Google Scholar
- Hong SK, Kim HS: Clinical review of the acute appendicitis in patients over the age of 60. J Korean Surg Soc. 1993, 44: 449-55.Google Scholar
- Sim HS, Lee YK, Hwang JY: Acute appendicitis in the aged. J Korean Surg Soc. 1998, 54: 695-700.Google Scholar
- An SS, Soh YS, Cho IH, Back HM, Lee SY: Clinical analysis of acute appendicitis in the elderly. J Korean Soc Coloproctol. 2002, 18: 274-80.Google Scholar
- Scher KS, Coil JA: The continuing challenge of perforating appen-dicitis. Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1980, 150: 535-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Owens BJ, Hamit HF: Appendicitis in the elderly. Ann Surg. 1978, 187: 392-6. 10.1097/00000658-197804000-00008.PubMed CentralView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lau WY, Fan ST, Yiu TF, Chu KW, Lee JM: Acute appendicitis in the elderly. Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1985, 161: 157-60.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Canty TG, Collins D, Losasso B, Lynch F, Brown C: Laparoscop-ic appendectomy for simple and perforated appendicitis in chil-dren: the procedure of choice?. J Pediatr Surg. 2000, 35: 1582-5. 10.1053/jpsu.2000.18319.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Esposito C, Borzi P, Valla JS, Mekki M, Nouri A, Becmeur F, et al: Laparoscopic versus open appendectomy in children: a retrospec-tive comparative study of 2,332 cases. World J Surg. 2007, 31: 750-5. 10.1007/s00268-006-0699-8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Esposito C, Ascione G, Garipoli V, De Bernardo G, Esposito G: Complications of pediatric laparoscopic surgery. Surg Endosc. 1997, 11: 655-7. 10.1007/s004649900415.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Juricic M, Bossavy JP, Izard P, Cuq P, Vaysse P, Juskiewenski S: Laparoscopic appendicectomy: case reports of vascular injury in 2 children. Eur J Pediatr Surg. 1994, 4: 327-8. 10.1055/s-2008-1066126.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Golub R, Siddiqui F, Pohl D: Laparoscopic versus open appendec-tomy: a metaanalysis. J Am Coll Surg. 1998, 186: 545-53. 10.1016/S1072-7515(98)00080-5.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- el Ghoneimi A, Valla JS, Limonne B, Valla V, Montupet P, Chavrier Y, et al: Laparoscopic appendectomy in children: report of 1,379 cases. J Pediatr Surg. 1994, 29: 786-9. 10.1016/0022-3468(94)90371-9.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Park JB, Sul JY: Laparoscopic appendectomy: a safe primary pro-cedure for complicated appendicitis. J Korean Surg Soc. 2007, 72: 51-6.Google Scholar
- Rispoli C, Rocco N, Iannone L, Amato B: Developing guidelines in geriatric surgery: role of the grade system. BMC Geriatrics. 2009, 9 (SUPPL.1): A99-Google Scholar
- Canty TG Sr, Collins D, Losasso B, Lynch F, Brown C: Laparoscopic appendectomy for simple and perforated appendicitis in children: the procedure of choice?. J Pediatr Surg. 2000, 35: 1582-5. 10.1053/jpsu.2000.18319.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Markides G, Subar D, Riyad K: Laparoscopic versus open appen-dectomy in adults with complicated appendicitis: systematic review and meta-analysis. World J Surg. 2010, 34: 2026-40. 10.1007/s00268-010-0669-z.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ferrarese A, Martino V, Falcone A, Solej M, Destefano I: Perforated duodenal diverticulum: case report and short review of the literature. su Chirurgia,Google Scholar
- Solej M, Martino V, Mao P, Enrico S, Rosa R, Fornari M, Destefano I, Ferrarese AG, Gibin E, Bindi F, Falcone A, Ala U, Nano M: Early versus delayed laparoscopic cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis. Minerva Chirurgica. 2012, 67 (5): 381-387.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ferrarese A, Martino V, Nano M: Elective and emergency laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the elderly: early or delayed approach. BMC Geriatrics. 2011, 11 (Suppl 1): A14-10.1186/1471-2318-11-S1-A14.PubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Ferrarese A, Martino V, Nano M: Wound defects in the elderly: our experience. BMC Geriatrics. 2011, 11 (Suppl 1): A15-10.1186/1471-2318-11-S1-A15.PubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.