Laparoscopic lavage versus suction only in complicated acute appendicitis: A prospective randomized control trial

Imraan I. Sardiwalla*, Modise Z. Koto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Laparoscopic appendectomy for complicated appendicitis presents a challenge with concerns about pelvic collections. It is unclear whether lavage or if simple suctioning of pus influences complications. Methods: A prospective, single,-blinded, randomized control trial was conducted. Patients with suspected acute appendicitis were consented. Those found to have complicated appendicitis (perforation, localized pus, or four-quadrant pus) at laparoscopy were randomized to suction or lavage. Exclusions included conversions and drainage of abscess only. Lavage consisted of 3 liters of lavage. Intra-abdominal abscess that required reintervention (i.e., relook, percutaneous drainage) was the primary outcome. Hospital stay and return of bowel function were also recorded. Results: A total of 213 patients were assessed for eligibility. We excluded 157 patients, as they had simple appendicitis; 7 patients were converted to laparotomies; 5 had abscesses but the appendix was not removed. We analyzed 86 patients. The mean age was 26.6 years (14–74). We lavaged 42 (48.8%) patients and 44 (51.2%) were suctioned. Four-quadrant pus was present in 26 (30.2%) of the patients overall. Complications developed in 20 (47.5%) of the patients that were lavaged versus 12 patients (27.1%) with suction only. The difference did not reach significance due to sample size (P ¼ 0.0739). Operative time was longer in the lavage group by 30 minutes (P ¼ 0.086). If a complication developed, then the hospital stay was significantly prolonged 13.5 days versus 5 days (P, 0.001). The study was stopped by the internal review board due to the excess risk with lavage. Conclusions: This exploratory study into lavage versus suction only in complicated appendicitis revealed potential harm with lavage. The study was stopped prematurely by the internal review due to the excess risk experienced by the lavage group, thus the study did not reach statistical power. If a patient with complicated appendicitis developed any complication, hospital stay was longer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-377
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Surgery
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Complicated appendicitis
  • Laparoscopic appendectomy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Lavage versus suction only
  • Postoperative collections


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