Appendicitis And Antibiotics: Most Cases Will Not Require Surgery

First Posted: Jun 17, 2015 01:38 PM EDT

When we hear the word "appendicitis," a nasty condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus, resulting in excruciating pain, most of us are thinking surgery. However, for less severe cases, a round of antibiotics may just do the trick.

A new study in Finland actually found that up to 73 percent of appendicitis patients treated with antibiotics did not need to have their appendix removed within a year.

In fact, as many as 80 percent of appendicitis patients actually had an uncomplicated case that could even be treated without surgery altogether.

For the study, researchers examined over 500 appendicitis patients, randomly treating them with either surgery or antibiotics.

"Our hypothesis was that most of the patients with uncomplicated appendicitis may be treated with antibiotics rather than surgery," said Dr. Paulina Salminen, adjunct professor and head physician of the Emergency Surgery Unit at Turku University Hospital, in a news release. "In this way, Unnecessary operations and the morbidity associated with surgery could be avoided. At the same time, substantial savings would be made."

Findings revealed that 186 of the 256 patients who were given antibiotics no longer required an appendectomy during the one-year follow-up period.

Furthermore, the study results suggested that antibiotics could actually cure inflammation without many patients' cases even having to go under the knife. However, this was true for all. Twenty percent of the volunteer patients, for instance, had more severe cases that required surgical assistance.

"Most patients randomized to antibiotic treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis did not require appendectomy during the 1-year follow-up period, and those who required appendectomy did not experience significant complications," the researchers concluded.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via JAMA

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