Treatment options for Appendicitis

Updated at: Dec 15, 2012
Treatment options for Appendicitis

Surgery is the only treatment for appendicitis. Surgery is done to remove the appendix before it ruptures and spreads the infection to the abdomen (peritonitis).Surgery to remove the appendix can be done by standard surgical methods or laparoscopy

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Other DiseasesWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Feb 01, 2012

Treatment of a person, who is diagnosed with appendicitis, depends on the symptoms and whether the appendix is inflamed or ruptured.

Surgery: If appendicitis is suspected, most doctors prefer to err on the side of safety and quickly remove the appendix to avoid its progression to rupture. If you have appendicitis, surgery to remove the appendix (appendectomy) is the only treatment. Aim of the treatment is to remove the appendix before it ruptures and the infection goes into the abdomen (peritonitis).Surgery to remove the appendix can be done by standard surgical method or laparoscopy. There is no consensus on the mode of surgery that is better (standard surgical method or by laparoscopic). The surgery that you undergo will depend on what your surgeon prefers. The advantages of laparoscopic surgery include smaller incision, less risk of infection, less pain and scarring, more rapid recovery and a shorter hospital stay. Prior to the surgery, you will be put on IV fluids to be well hydrated and advised not to eat or drink to avoid complications when being given anaesthesia and during the surgery. In some cases, an abscess may form in the appendix. The procedures followed to treat the abscess include draining the abscess of pus and fluid and later removing the appendix.

Ruptured appendix:
If an infected appendix ruptures, the infection spreads to the abdomen resulting in peritonitis (an inflammation of the lining of the abdomen). Treatment of a burst appendix may be more complicated. A drain may be placed in your abdomen to remove some of the infection after which you will undergo a surgery to remove it.  You will be given intravenous (IV) fluids (to keep you well hydrated) and antibiotics (to treat infection). In some cases, the surgery to remove the appendix may be done after a few days of antibiotics. After the surgery, a drain may be placed within the wound to help drain the infection. The hospital stay and time to recovery are usually longer in cases of surgery after appendix rupture.

Uncertain diagnosis:
If the symptoms are not clear and the doctor is not sure if you have appendicitis, you may be admitted in the hospital before a decision on an appropriate treatment is taken. You may also be sent home. If you are advised to go home, follow your doctor’s recommendations with regards to medication and monitoring of symptoms such as:

  • Avoid taking medication for pain as they may make it difficult for you to judge if the pain from appendicitis gets better or worse.
  • Avoid enemas or laxatives as they may cause rupture of appendix.
  • Measure your body temperature every 2 hours and record it.
  • Do not take antibiotics without your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Consult your doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve.


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