Minimally invasive step-up approach for the management of postoperative intraabdominal abscess after laparoscopic appendectomy



Postoperative intraabdominal abscess (IAA) is the most feared complication after laparoscopic appendectomy (LA). We aimed to evaluate the management of this complication in a large cohort of patients undergoing LA in order to design a treatment algorithm.


We included a consecutive series of patients undergoing LA for acute appendicitis from January 2008 to December 2018. The cohort of patients with postoperative IAA was divided into three groups based on the implemented treatments: G1: antibiotics only, G2: CT-guided drainage, and G3: laparoscopic lavage. Characteristics of the fluid collections and outcomes were analyzed in the three groups.


A total of 1668 LA were performed; the rate of IAA was 2.2% (36 patients). There were 12 (33%) patients who received antibiotics only (G1), 8 (22%) underwent CT-guided percutaneous drainage (G2), and 16 (45%) underwent laparoscopic lavage (G3). The median size of the abscesses was 2.7 (1.2–4) cm in G1, 6.2 (4.5–8) cm in G2, and 9.6 (8–11.4) cm in G3 (p < 0.04). Patients with two or more fluid collections underwent a laparoscopic lavage in all cases. Treatment failure occurred in 16% (2/12), 12.5% (1/8) and 12.5% (2/16) of the patients in G1, G2, and G3, respectively. None of the patients in the entire cohort required open surgery to resolve the postoperative IAA.


A minimally invasive step-up approach based on the size and number of fluid collections is associated with excellent outcomes. A treatment algorithm for post-appendectomy IAA is proposed.

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Correspondence to Francisco Laxague.

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Francisco Laxague MD, Francisco Schlottmann MD, MPH, José M. Piatti MD and Emmanuel E. Sadava MD, have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Laxague, F., Schlottmann, F., Piatti, J.M. et al. Minimally invasive step-up approach for the management of postoperative intraabdominal abscess after laparoscopic appendectomy. Surg Endosc 35, 787–791 (2021).

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  • Laparoscopic appendectomy
  • Intraabdominal abscess
  • Antibiotics
  • Percutaneous drainage
  • Laparoscopy