National Trends and Disparities in the Diffusion of Laparoscopic Surgery for Children in the United States

J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2021 Jun 21. doi: 10.1089/lap.2021.0013. Online ahead of print.


Background: Laparoscopic surgery has become the standard of care for many surgical treatments. The diffusion of laparoscopy has been investigated for adult patient populations but is still unknown for pediatric populations. This study sought to describe national trends in diffusion of laparoscopic surgery for common pediatric conditions and identify disparities in use of laparoscopic surgery. Study Design: A retrospective analysis of serial cross-sectional data was performed using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s Kids’ Inpatient Database from 1997 to 2016. Pediatric patients (ages ≤18) undergoing appendectomy, cholecystectomy, fundoplication, or inguinal hernia repair were identified. The diffusion of laparoscopy for each procedure was measured using the proportion of laparoscopic surgeries over years. Results: National trends demonstrate increases in the use of laparoscopy for children over the past two decades from 13.4% to 88.7% for appendectomy, from 82.6% to 94.9% for cholecystectomy, from 7.4% to 77.4% for fundoplication, and from 1.5% to 23.5% for repair of inguinal hernia (P < .001). Disparities in diffusion of laparoscopy were found from various pediatric populations, and the disparities varied by specific procedures and years. In particular, the proportion of laparoscopic appendectomy in 1997 was 11.3% at urban teaching hospitals and was 13.9% at rural hospitals (P = .01), while the proportions in 2016 increased to 90.8% at urban teaching hospitals versus 71.3% at rural hospitals (P < .001). Conclusions: Laparoscopy has become the standard surgical care for common pediatric surgical conditions. Widening disparities in use of laparoscopic surgery for pediatric populations appear between urban teaching hospitals and rural hospitals.

PMID:34152864 | DOI:10.1089/lap.2021.0013