Laparoscopy as a diagnostic and therapeutic option in evaluating chronic unexplained right iliac fossa pain
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Management of chronic right iliac fossa (CRIF) pain is poorly documented in literature. No guidelines are available on the best therapeutic approach.
Patients presenting from October 2007 to August 2009 with pain persisting or recurring in right lower abdomen over a period of 6 weeks or more were assessed. Severity of CRIF pain was documented using a ten-point visual analogue scale. Initial history and examination were followed by urine analysis, blood counts, X-ray and ultrasound scan of the abdomen. Full colonoscopy was performed in all negative cases. Diagnostic or therapeutic laparoscopy was offered to patients with normal initial investigations. The normal-looking appendix was removed in the absence of other positive laparoscopic findings. Patient’s immediate complications, pain score at 8 weeks and histology of appendix were assessed.
Nineteen patients with median age of 43 years (range 32–52 years) underwent laparoscopy. All were female. Median pain score was 5 (range 4–6). During surgery, 12 (64%) had positive findings. Of these, 6 (30%) had adhesions, which were separated. Three patients with congested appendices were removed. One caecal perforation, tubal mass and ovarian cyst were treated laparoscopically. Seven (36%) patients who had macroscopically normal appendices underwent appendicectomy. There were no immediate postoperative complications. Significant improvement was seen in overall pain score after surgery (median 5, range 4–6 versus median 0, range 0–6; p = 0.001). However, only 57% of patients with normal appendix had improved pain scores (median 5, range 4–6 versus median 1, range 0–6; p = 0.12). All patients with positive laparoscopic findings improved after surgery.
Laparoscopy seems effective in evaluation and treatment of CRIF pain. The role of appendicectomy with normal-looking appendix needs further evaluation.
KeywordsChronic right iliac fossa pain Laparoscopy Appendectomy
We thank Doctor Buddhika Dassanayake for assistance with statistical analysis of data.
Authors Rohan C. Siriwardana, Saman Renuka, and Sumudu Kumarage have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.