How is appendicitis treated?

Appendicitis is traditionally treated by removing the appendix, but early cases can be treated with antibiotics.

Dr. John E. Linn, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Acute appendicitis is usually treated with appendectomy. In some circumstances, the appendix has perforated with a walled-off infection adjacent to it, and surgery may not be necessary. Most operations for acute appendicitis can be accomplished laparoscopically, and patients usually are discharged the next day.

Some have recently suggested that appendicitis can be treated with antibiotics alone, without surgery. However, results of this approach have not been perfect, and a significant number of patients still require surgery for this disease. Since the risk profile of laparoscopic appendectomy is fairly low, surgery is usually recommended.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

When the appendix, a small tube of tissue at the beginning of the large intestine, becomes blocked and inflamed, it must be surgically removed. Appendicitis is a medical emergency. Watch Dr. Oz discuss appendicitis.

Appendicitis is usually treated by surgically removing the appendix as soon as possible (appendectomy). Because sometimes the diagnosis is not certain, the patient’s condition will be carefully monitored for six to 12 hours before operating, and patients are also given antibiotics to fight infection. Sometimes appendicitis does not need to be treated with surgery and the treatment is just a strong course of antibiotics.

Problems and complications from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems such as bleeding, infection, other organ damage and reactions to anesthesia. Complications are more common in the elderly, but other risk factors are smoking, a ruptured appendix, obesity, diabetes, chronic lung or heart disease and pregnancy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.