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Appendectomy at the time of ovarian cancer staging increases infectious complications: a National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) propensity score-stratified analysis


Objective Despite evidence that routine elective appendectomy at the time of staging surgery for ovarian cancer is not warranted, it remains common practice in gynecology oncology. The objective of this study was to compare the surgical complication rates of women undergoing surgery for suspected early-stage ovarian malignancy with concurrent appendectomy to those who did not undergo appendectomy.

Methods The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) 2010–2017 data were used to analyze the patient characteristics and outcomes of women undergoing staging surgeries for suspected early ovarian cancer. Women with pre-operative ascites, disseminated cancer, concurrent bowel surgery, or cytoreductive surgery were excluded. Multivariate logistic regression and propensity score stratification were used to assess 30-day post-operative outcomes.

Results Three hundred and fifty-one of 2100 women (16.7%) underwent concurrent appendectomy at time of surgery, and the post-operative infection rate was 7.8%. Women with concurrent appendectomy had twice the odds of post-operative infection (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.26 to 3.27) after controlling for clinically important risk factors. The increased odds of infection remained significant after propensity score stratification (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.27 to 3.3). No association was observed with length of hospital stay, readmission, return to the operating room, or post-operative death.

Conclusions Appendectomy at time of surgery for suspected early-stage ovarian cancer is associated with significantly elevated odds of post-operative infection. Unless there is clinical suspicion for involvement, routine appendectomy should be abandoned in clinical practice.

  • ovarian cancer
  • surgical procedures
  • operative
  • surgical wound infection
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