Appendicitis - Treatments

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What is the treatment for appendicitis?

Once a diagnosis of appendicitis is made, an appendectomy usually is performed. Antibiotics almost always are begun prior to surgery and as soon as appendicitis is suspected.

There is a small group of patients in whom the inflammation and infection of appendicitis remain mild and localized to a small area. The body is able not only to contain the inflammation and infection but to resolve them as well. These patients usually are not very ill and improve during several days of observation. This type of appendicitis is referred to as "confined appendicitis" and may be treated with antibiotics alone. The appendix may or may not be removed at a later time. There is still some controversy, however, about leaving the healed appendix in place since appendicitis can recur.

On occasion, a person may not see their doctor until appendicitis with rupture has been present for many days or even weeks. In this situation, an abscess usually has formed, and the appendiceal perforation may have closed over. If the abscess is small, it initially can be treated with antibiotics; however, an abscess usually requires drainage. A drain (a small plastic or rubber tube) usually is inserted through the skin and into the abscess with the aid of an ultrasound or CT scan that can determine the exact location of the abscess. The drain allows pus to flow from the abscess out of the body. The appendix may be removed several weeks or months after the abscess has resolved. This is called an interval appendectomy and is done to prevent a second attack of appendicitis.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Jeanne, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 24

I was walking my dogs on the beach one morning, when I had cramping and I rushed home and had diarrhea. I felt ok and went to work. Around noon I felt lightheaded and started shivering uncontrollably. I had my coworker take me home. I sat in the sun until I warmed up and then rested for the remainder of the day. I felt ok when I woke up the next day but my blood pressure was very low. I had slight tenderness on my lower right side, and cramping and pain around to my back. I googled my symptoms and thought I had a bladder or urinary tract infection. Around noon, I started shivering so uncontrollably that I called a taxi to take me to urgent care. They checked me out and said I had very low blood pressure and was dehydrated but no fever. They hooked me up to an IV for fluids and started blood tests. Seven hours later they still didn't know what was wrong with me and were ready to send me home since they were closing, with the instructions to go to the emergency room (ER) if I had any worsening of symptoms. As I was getting ready to go, some blood tests came back with unusual numbers and they told me to go over to the ER to get checked out. I was in the ER for seven hours, while they did blood tests, pressed on my abdomen, and did an ultrasound which did not reveal anything. They sent me in for a CAT scan which showed appendicitis. And I was admitted that evening and had laparoscopic surgery. They told me my removed appendix had been inflamed. During this whole ordeal, the slight pain in my lower right abdomen was the least of my symptoms.

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Comment from: PAB, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 01

I suddenly lost 20 pounds in 30 days during a continuous episode of diarrhea. Doctors focused on colon issues for 9 months even though CAT scans showed a damaged pancreas. No diagnosis issued and I became sicker. Doctors became disgusted with me. I don't drink alcohol. Finally, I received help via other doctors with the expensive drug Creon! Allows reasonably normal diet. This drug should be mentioned in the discussions on the website.

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