Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 398, Issue 3, pp 463–466

Expanded utilization of nonoperative management for complicated appendicitis in children

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00423-012-1042-5

Cite this article as:
Fawley, J. & Gollin, G. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2013) 398: 463. doi:10.1007/s00423-012-1042-5



The initial approach to complicated appendicitis in children has become increasingly nonoperative, particularly when there is presumed perforation and a localized abscess. We extended the indications for nonoperative management to include most cases other than simple appendicitis, including those with diffuse peritoneal involvement. We evaluated outcomes and sought to identify factors at the time of hospital admission that predicted an extended length of stay (LOS) with this strategy.


The records of 223 consecutive children who were managed nonoperatively for complicated appendicitis were reviewed. A conservative approach was typically pursued in those with an abscess, phlegmon, or free fluid on initial imaging studies, and diffuse tenderness, diarrhea, or significant leukocytosis after 2 days of symptoms. Interval appendectomies were performed selectively.


The average LOS was 5.6 days (1–38), but nine subjects had a LOS of greater than 14 days. Eleven (4.9 %) required appendectomy during the initial admission. Free fluid on admission imaging studies, present in 78 % of those with an extended LOS, [odds ratio (OR) 5.5], in addition to a requirement for early nasogastric drainage (OR 24.2) and a higher band count (19 vs 15 %), was significantly associated with an extended LOS.


An expansion of the indications for nonoperative management of complicated appendicitis yielded an acceptable average LOS and a low incidence of early appendectomy. However, a small subset of subjects had an extended LOS, and most of those had free peritoneal fluid on admission.


Perforated appendicitisComplicated appendicitisNonoperativeFree peritoneal fluidBandemia

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pediatric SurgeryLoma Linda University School of MedicineLoma LindaUSA