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.

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