Pills for appendicitis? Surgery often not needed, study says

A new study says surgery isn't always needed for appendicitis and that antibiotics instead can often do the trick.

The results from Finland contradict decades of thinking about the best way to treat an inflamed appendix. The condition has long been thought to be a medical emergency because of the risk for a burst appendix, which can be life-threatening. But advances in imaging tests make it easy to determine which patients face that danger.

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The study in 500 adults found that nearly two-thirds of patients treated with antibiotics fared well after five years. About one-third had another case of appendicitis and had surgery to take out their appendix.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.