A recent study found that although antibiotics appeared to treat a majority of mild appendicitis cases, more than one-fifth of patients saw the condition reoccur within one year. International researchers, who noted that surgery remains the most common appendicitis treatment despite promising studies of antibiotics, analyzed five separate trials and compared the two methods.
The results, which involved a total of 1,116 patients, found that slightly more surgery patients experienced serious complications — 8 percent — than the 5 percent in the antibiotics group. Among those treated with antibiotics, however, 8 percent nonetheless received an appendectomy within one month, while appendicitis reoccurred in 23 percent of those patients within one year.
In addition, researchers said the study did not determine how many patients ultimately required surgery and said that no long-term follow-up plan for patients treated with antibiotics currently exists. They also expressed concerns about the increased use of antibiotics at a time when health authorities are worried about the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
“In medicine and surgery, treatment choices are increasingly based on shared decision-making, where patients and care providers make decisions together,” said Kari Tikkinen of the University of Helsinki. “I expect that this will also increasing apply to treatment of mild appendicitis.”
The findings were published in the British Journal of Surgery.