Management of the normal-appearing appendix during laparoscopy for clinically suspected acute appendicitis in the pediatric population
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PURPOSE: The widespread use of laparoscopy has brought forth the question of how to manage a macroscopically normal-appearing appendix in cases of clinically suspected appendicitis. This study aimed to determine the current practices of pediatric general surgeons in Canada regarding this matter. METHODS: An online survey was created following the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) guidelines and distributed via email to the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons (CAPS) staff surgeons. The questions assessed clinician characteristics, standard practice, and rationale. Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: A total of 54/72 (75%) CAPS members practicing in Canada completed the survey. All (100%) agreed they would remove a normal-appearing appendix during laparoscopy for suspected acute appendicitis. The most common reasons were: possibility of microscopic appendicitis (39/54, 72.2%), avoiding future diagnostic confusion (28/54, 51.9%), and patient preference/consent discussion (21/54, 38.9%). Most (53/54, 98.1%) had performed a negative appendectomy and 49/54 (90.7%) agreed there were no sufficient guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of pediatric surgeons agree sufficient guidelines do not exist to support decision making when a normal-appearing appendix is found during laparoscopy for suspected acute appendicitis. This survey shows that removal of the appendix in this case would be supported by the majority of Canadian pediatric surgeons. TYPE OF STUDY: Survey LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: VII (Expert Opinion).
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