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      A normal appendix found during diagnostic laparoscopy should not be removed.

      The British Journal of Surgery
      Adult, Appendectomy, methods, Appendicitis, diagnosis, surgery, Child, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Laparoscopy, Length of Stay, Male, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Reoperation, statistics & numerical data

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          Abstract

          Diagnostic laparoscopy has been introduced as a new diagnostic tool for suspected appendicitis. While the normal appendix used to be removed routinely, laparoscopy allows us to leave a normal looking appendix in place. This latter strategy is, however, not generally accepted. The long-term results of not removing a normal looking appendix were evaluated. This was a prospective evaluation of 109 diagnostic laparoscopies for suspected appendicitis in which a normal looking appendix was left in place. After a median follow-up of 4.4 years a telephone questionnaire was performed. There were no false-negative laparoscopies. In 65 patients (60 per cent) another diagnosis was obtained (group 1). In 44 patients (40 per cent) no diagnosis was obtained (group 2). After a median interval of 8 months, 15 patients presented to the emergency department for symptoms possibly involving the appendix, during the median follow-up of 4.4 years. This resulted in readmission of nine patients, of whom eight were reoperated. In only one patient (1 per cent) was a histologically proven appendicitis found and the appendix removed. Some 105 patients were eligible for follow-up. Of the 100 patients interviewed (95 per cent), nine patients (9 per cent) (six in group 1 and three in group 2) still had recurrent pain in the right lower abdominal quadrant. There were no differences between patients with or without another diagnosis obtained during preceding laparoscopy. It is safe to leave a normal looking appendix in place when a diagnostic laparoscopy for suspected appendicitis is performed, even if another diagnosis cannot be found at laparoscopy.

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