Author(s): Friedell ML, PerezIzquierdo M
Interval appendectomy (IA) remains a controversial subject in surgery. To determine its effectiveness we reviewed our results with this approach. From January 1990 through December 1998 a total of 73 patients underwent appendectomy, five (7%) of which were interval in nature. These IA patients had a palpable abdominal mass or delayed presentation that led to CT scan. The decision to delay surgery was determined by two factors: 1) a CT scan that showed advanced inflammatory changes (phlegmon or abscess) associated with acute appendicitis and 2) a rapid response to conservative management. All patients received antibiotics-first intravenous and then oral. Repeat CT scans were performed before surgery and showed a virtual resolution of the inflammatory process. Appendectomy was delayed from 35 to 66 days from the time of diagnosis (average 51 days). There were no preoperative complications, the operations were uneventful, and there were no significant postoperative sequelae. IA appears to convert an unfavorable surgical situation potentially fraught with complications (fistula, abscess, wound infection) to one that is essentially elective in nature. It should be considered for the patient who is found to have an extensive periappendiceal inflammatory process, is clinically stable, and responds favorably to initial nonoperative management.