PURPOSE: The value of laparoscopic appendectomy for complicated appendicitis is still controversial. The purpose of this clinical study was to evaluate the efficacy of laparoscopic appendectomy in patients with complicated appendicitis. METHODS: This study involved a total of 108 consecutive patients who had undergone appendectomy for complicated appendicitis between January 2008 and August 2009. Those patients were divided into two groups; laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) and open appendectomy (OA). The demographic data, the incidence of drainage tube insertion, the operative time, the duration of pain, the time to a soft oral diet, the hospital days and the complication rate for the two groups were analyzed. RESULTS: There were no significant differences of the operative time (OA group: 65.2+/-27.31 min vs the LA group: 64.6+/-23.6 min) (p=0.233). However, in the LA group, there were benefits for number of drainage tube insertions (OA group: 48/60 vs the LA group: 8/48) (p<0.001), the use of analgesics (OA group: 3.2+/-3.9 times vs the LA group: 1.4+/-1.3 times) (p<0.001), the time to start a soft diet (OA group: 2.8+/-1.3 days vs the LA group: 1.4+/-1.3 days) (p=0.020), the hospital stay (OA group 7.5+/-3.4 days vs LA group 3.7+/-2.2 days) (p=0.040) and the complication rate (OA group: 18/60 vs the LA group: 8/48) (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that laparoscopic appendectomy for treating complicated appendicitis is a safe procedure that may prove to have significant clinical advantages over open appendectomy.