Need Your Appendix Out? Not So Fast

Study shows that antibiotics might be a better alternative
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2012 10:03 AM CDT
Need Your Appendix Out? Not So Fast
Antibiotics might be a better bet than surgery for appendix problems.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Having your appendix taken out may be a common, ho-hum procedure as far as surgeries go, but a new study suggests it may be too common. British researchers say antibiotics could be a better alternative, reports the BBC. Their study found that two-thirds of patients treated with the drugs for a year were just fine without surgery. It applied to those with uncomplicated cases—an inflamed appendix, say, rather than a perforated one.

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"We need to consider treating with antibiotics as a significant number will get better," says one researcher. One caveat: About 20% of patients had a recurrence within a year, a figure that would likely need to come down before the practice becomes widespread. "It is questionable whether a failure rate of 20% within one year is acceptable," says one doctor. (Read more appendix stories.)

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