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July 4, 1977

Incidental AppendectomiesCurrent Teaching

JAMA. 1977;238(1):31. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280010031014

INCIDENTAL appendectomy continues to be highly controversial. Opinions about this operation vary widely, ranging from the view that the appendix should be removed virtually every time the peritoneal cavity is opened to the belief that incidental appendectomy is a meddlesome and dangerous operation that should never be performed. Because of this diversity of opinion, a study was undertaken to determine the current teaching regarding incidental appendectomy in all approved residency training programs in general surgery and obstetrics-gynecology in the United States today.

From 1975 to 1976, all directors of approved residencies in general surgery and in obstetrics-gynecology in the United States, listed in the American Medical Association Directory of Approved Internships and Residencies, were sent a questionnaire.

The directors of 467 surgical programs were asked to give an unqualified yes or no to the question: Do you recommend incidental appendectomy in uncomplicated (1) intra-abdominal operations in which the gastrointestinal tract