Appendicitis, the most common condition among children that requires emergency abdominal surgery, presents in as many as 8 percent of pediatric patients who visit the emergency room for acute abdominal pain. Most pediatric appendectomies can be performed as a laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery. A laparoscopic appendectomy generally involves three very small (5-12 mm) incisions to admit a camera, surgical instruments, and a tube for injecting air into the abdomen. The inflation provides higher visibility for the surgeon. Uncomplicated appendicitis is often treated with a single-access laparoscopy, which requires only one incision. Patients undergo laparoscopic appendectomy under general anesthesia.

Laparoscopic surgery offers some potential advantages over open surgery, including an opportunity to examine the entire abdomen, which is useful in cases of uncertain diagnosis. For example, some gynecological conditions in adolescent female patients cause symptoms similar to appendicitis. Laparoscopic appendectomy also provides a useful alternative to open surgery for patients suffering from obesity.

A detailed article on pediatric laparoscopic surgery is available at

About the Author: 

Dr. Gustavo Stringel, a surgeon with extensive experience in pediatric surgery and laparoscopy, currently serves as Surgeon in Chief at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Valhalla, New York. Since accepting the position in 1994, Dr. Gustavo Stringel has taken a leading role in developing the hospital's minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgery capabilities.
By the Office of Dr. Gustavo Stringel 

Esteemed surgeon Dr. Gustavo Stringel has researched and published extensively on pediatric appendectomy. Aware that many parents may be unfamiliar with this common condition, Dr. Stringer has prepared a brief primer on the topic.

Roughly 80,000 children per year suffer from bacterial infection of the appendix; appendicitis is especially prevalent between the ages of 10 and 20. Its most common symptom is a pain in the abdomen that begins as a dull sensation around the navel before becoming acute in the lower right side of the abdomen. This pain typically becomes more severe when walking or applying direct pressure, and tends to build over the course of several hours. Additional symptoms include nausea and vomiting; constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive irregularities; swelling of the abdomen; and a moderate fever in the range of 99 to 102 degrees.

The most appropriate treatment for pediatric appendicitis is an appendectomy, which is the surgical removal of the appendix. Specialists in pediatric surgery such as Dr. Gustavo Stringel can perform the procedure laparoscopically, making only small incisions using specialized instruments. No matter how the appendectomy is conducted, a child should be able to return to school in under ten days and participate fully in activities within two to three weeks.

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