Antibiotics appear to be an effective alternative to surgery
Appendicitis causes severe pain in the lower abdomen. Usually, such a disease must then be surgically removed. Researchers have now found that antibiotics can be an effective alternative to surgery.
Scientists at the University of Southampton found in an investigation that the use of antibiotics in appendicitis leads to the avoidance of surgery. The doctors published the results of their study in the specialist journal "Pediatrics".
Removal of the appendix is the most common reason for emergency surgery in children
Approximately one in 13 people will develop appendicitis in the course of their life. Removal of the appendix is the most common reason for child emergency surgery, the researchers say. Antibiotics could offer a less invasive alternative to surgery. This type of treatment has already shown success in adult patients.
Does an operation for appendicitis really make sense?
In recent years, medical professionals have realized that there are some appendicitis patients in adults who can recover from their disease without surgery. Parents of children often ask themselves whether the little ones really need surgery for appendicitis, explains author Professor Nigel Hall from the University of Southampton.
Surgical intervention is the proven way of treating children
For children with appendicitis, surgery is the proven way of treatment, often combined with taking antibiotics, the scientists explain. The doctors were particularly interested in better research into the possibilities of non-surgical treatment for children.
Study examined 766 children
As part of the research, an overview of ten existing studies was created. A total of 766 children took part in the tests. Of these children, 413 subjects with uncomplicated acute appendicitis were treated with antibiotics alone, the authors say. No surgery was necessary.
Studies compare the use of antibiotics with surgery performed
Six of the studies compared antibiotic use to surgery, while the other four examined only children treated with antibiotics. Different antibiotics and different treatment times were examined over the course of the studies, the researchers add.
Antibiotic treatment was sufficient for 82 percent of the patients
Exclusive antibiotic treatment was effective in approximately 97 percent of children who did not undergo surgical treatment. The doctors found no adverse effects of treating appendicitis with antibiotics in their study, the doctors say. However, in about 14 percent of children, the disease returned later without surgery. Overall, around 82 percent of children avoided surgery by taking antibiotics. The various studies ran over a period of eight weeks to four years.
If appendicitis is repeated, doctors recommend removal
Surgery can be avoided by taking antibiotics. However, if appendicitis recurs, doctors will probably advise you to have the appendix removed surgically, the experts explain.
Further investigations are necessary
More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of antibiotics alone compared to appendicitis surgery. In addition, the cost and quality of life of various treatments must be assessed. We need more prospective, comparative, randomized studies on the subject, the authors say. The first steps towards such studies are already underway in the UK. The current study included only simple acute appendicitis and no children with complicated appendicitis.
See a specialist with appendicitis
"We would not recommend that all children with appendicitis be treated with antibiotics," the scientists explain. And the treatment of appendicitis should always be carried out by a specialist or in a hospital, according to the experts.
Disadvantages of using antibiotics
Surgeries are expensive and can lead to complications, but appendicitis cannot occur again, critics of the study say. In addition, the use of antibiotics must always be viewed critically today. The different strains of bacteria are increasingly developing resistance to antibiotics. (as)