There’s a promising new way to treat appendicitis that doesn’t involve surgery

(Lindsey Tanner/Associated Press) — When emergency tests showed the telltale right-sided pain in Heather VanDusen’s abdomen was appendicitis, she figured she’d be quickly wheeled into surgery. But doctors offered her the option of antibiotics instead.

A new study from Finland shows her choice is a reasonable alternative for most patients with appendicitis. Five years after treatment with antibiotics, almost two-thirds of patients hadn’t had another attack.

It’s a substantial change in thinking about how to treat an inflamed appendix. For decades, appendicitis has been considered a medical emergency requiring immediate surgery to remove the appendix because of fears it could burst, which can be life-threatening.

But advances in imaging tests, mainly CT scans, have made it easier to determine if an appendix might burst, or if patients could be safely treated without surgery. (…)

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