September 26, 2012
Antibiotics Could Soon Replace Surgery For Appendicitis
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
People who are suffering from an appendicitis may not have to undergo a scalpel and sutures in the future but could instead just resort to taking some antibiotics.
Typically, people suffering from an appendicitis will have to undergo surgery in order to remove their appendix. However, scientists at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden are trying to find a way around that with antibiotics.
Two major clinical studies of adult patients with acute appendicitis focus on treating patients with antibiotic therapy compared to surgery. One of the studies compared surgery with the antibiotic therapy, while the other went to antibiotics as the first-line of treatment.
The studies showed that treatment with antibiotics was just as effective as removing the appendix in the majority of patients.
"Some patients are so ill that the operation is absolutely necessary, but 80% of those who can be treated with antibiotics recover and return to full health," Jeanette Hansson wrote in her thesis.
Hansson's thesis shows that patients who are treated with antibiotics are at risk of fewer complications than those who undergo surgery.
The risk of recurrence within 12 months of treatment with antibiotics is about 10 to 15%, according to the studies.
The team hopes to be able to document the risk of recurrence over the long term and also to study whether recurrences can also be treated with antibiotics.
Although increased resistance to antibiotics could affect the treatment, the conclusion is that antibiotics are a viable alternative to undergoing a scalpel and sutures, provided the patient accepts the risk of recurrence.
"It's important to note that our studies show that patients who need surgery because of recurrences, or because the antibiotics haven't worked, are not at risk of any additional complications relative to those operated on in the first place," Hansson said in a statement.