PURPOSE - The potential benefits of laparoscopic pyeloplasty may recede in younger age groups. We used a multi-institutional database to address the effect of laparoscopic approach on length of stay and postoperative parenteral narcotic use in specific pediatric age groups.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We performed a retrospective study of 5,261 children with an ICD-9 procedure code for correction of ureteropelvic junction obstruction from the Pediatric Health Information System, a database of freestanding pediatric hospitals. Discharge dates from January 1, 2002 to June 30, 2007 were included. Laparoscopic cases were identified by ICD-9 procedure codes and hospital equipment charges. We used multivariate linear regression to investigate the effect of laparoscopic approach on length of stay and parenteral narcotic use in several age categories, including infant (1 month to less than 2 years old), preschool (2 to less than 6 years), grade school (6 to less than 10 years), preadolescent (10 to less than 13 years) and adolescent (13 to less than 19 years).
RESULTS - Laparoscopic approach decreased length of stay and number of parenteral narcotic pharmacy charges in the preadolescent (p = 0.03 and p = 0.005, respectively) and adolescent (p = 0.03 and p = 0.006, respectively) groups but not in any of the younger groups.
CONCLUSIONS - Laparoscopic approach was associated with a shorter hospital stay and decreased parenteral narcotic use in patients older than 10 years. Evolving technique may reveal less morbidity in younger patients. Future comparisons to open pyeloplasty should address specific pediatric age groups and outpatient convalescence.