Researchers in Finland studied more than 500 adults who had uncomplicated appendicitis, meaning their appendixes had not ruptured and they had no signs of infection or other problems in their abdomens. Half of the patients received an appendectomy, which is the standard of care, while the other half got an IV of antibiotics for three days followed by antibiotic pills for a week.
The researchers found that 73 percent of the patients who took antibiotics recovered from appendicitis and did not need surgery for at least a year afterward. The rest of the patients — who went on to have another case of appendicitis and need an appendectomy — did not have a higher rate of complications than the patients who initially received surgery.
“This is quite a radical change in the line of thinking, because appendectomy has served patients well for over 100 years,” said Dr. Paulina Salminen, a surgeon at the Turku University Hospital in Finland and lead author of the study, which was published on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. An editorial accompanying the study added, “the time has come to consider abandoning routine appendectomy for patients with uncomplicated appendicitis.”
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