Ultrasonography in diagnosis of acute appendicitis

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7286.615 (Published 10 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:615

Diagnostic laparoscopy is often more useful than ultrasonography

  1. Stephen Attwood, consultant surgeon (Jridgeway@Hope.srht.nwest.nhs.uk)
  1. Hope Hospital, Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust, Salford M6 8HD
  2. University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB15 9HR

    EDITOR—Douglas et al's trial of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis, and the accompanying editorial, highlight the importance of an accurate diagnosis of acute abdominal pain in the right iliac fossa and the need to avoid unnecessary appendicectomy. 1 2 The results indicate that ultrasonography has little practical value in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis because of false positive and false negative results and the inability to identify alternative diagnoses.

    Neither article mentioned the increasing use of diagnostic laparoscopy in these cases. This technique makes an accurate diagnosis clearly; this is especially useful in female patients of any age and in elderly men, in whom diagnostic doubt is common. As well as preventing inappropriate appendicectomy, diagnostic laparoscopy defines …

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