Intervention not always necessary in post-appendectomy abscesses in children; clinical experience in a tertiary surgical centre and an overview of the literature

Ramon R. Gorter, Suzanne Meiring, Johanna H. van der Lee, Hugo A. Heij

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This study aims to provide an overview of both our own experience and the available literature on the treatment of post-appendectomy abscess (PAA) in children. We performed a historical cohort study encompassing all children aged 0-17 years old treated for a radiologically confirmed PAA between 2007 and 2013. Their medical charts were reviewed and descriptive analyses were performed. A literature search on the treatment of PAA in children was performed. In our cohort, 25 out of 372 (7 %) children developed a PAA. Thirteen were treated with a noninvasive strategy and 12 with an invasive strategy (percutaneous or surgical drainage). The immediate success rate was 9/13 (69 %) and 8/12 (67 %) for the noninvasive and invasive strategy, respectively. In both groups, four children (31 and 33 % resp.) required delayed interventions after their initial treatment. In the literature review, six studies were included which reported a median (range) frequency of persistent or recurrent abscess of 9 % (0-30 %), 50 % (0-100 %) and 24 % (0-33 %) for the antibiotic (noninvasive), percutaneous drainage (invasive) and surgical drainage strategies, respectively. Although confounding by indication cannot be excluded, we recommend noninvasive treatment as a safe strategy for PAA in children with stable condition. • Post-appendectomy abscess is a well-known and feared complication, occurring in up to 24 % of the children treated surgically for appendicitis. • Several strategies are available to treat this condition, all with advantages and disadvantages. What is new: • Noninvasive strategy is a safe strategy for children with a PAA in a stable condition. • An overview of the literature (the first to our knowledge) supports the above-mentioned statement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1191
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Appendicitis
  • Drainage procedure
  • Intra-abdominal abscess
  • Post-appendectomy abscess

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