Background: Whether peritoneal lavage is beneficial for the postoperative outcomes of appendectomy is debatable. This study is a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that aimed to determine whether peritoneal lavage leads to improved appendectomy outcomes. Methods: PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for articles published before September 2020. The meta-analysis calculated the pooled effect size by using a random effects model. The primary outcome was the incidence of intra-abdominal abscess. Secondary outcomes were the incidence of surgical-site infection, hospital stay duration, operation time, and readmission incidence. Results: Eight RCTs involving 1487 patients were reviewed. The lavage group had a nonsignificantly lower incidence of intra-abdominal abscess (risk ratio [RR]: 0.81; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.55–1.18) and surgical-site infection (RR: 0.73; 95% CI: 0.31–1.72) than did the nonirrigation group. Furthermore, the lavage group showed a nonsignificantly shorter hospital stay duration and lower readmission incidence than did the nonirrigation group. However, the lavage group required significantly more operation time than did the nonirrigation group (mean difference: 7.59 min; 95% CI: 4.67–10.50). Conclusion: Our study revealed that performing peritoneal lavage has no advantage over suction or drainage only in appendectomy. Moreover, peritoneal lavage significantly increased operation time. Consequently, for improving efficiency and reducing operation time, we suggest skipping peritoneal irrigation during appendectomy. However, the available evidence is of variable quality; therefore, high-quality prospective RCTs are required in the future.
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