HealthDay News — Avoiding surgery and treating appendicitis with antibiotics alone may be a safe approach for many children, according to a review published in Pediatrics.

Nigel Hall, PhD, an associate professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed various prior studies reporting the use of antibiotics alone for cases of uncomplicated appendicitis in 413 children. Study designs varied widely and did not all compare the same factors.

The researchers found that after follow-up periods ranging from 8 weeks to 4 years, nonsurgical treatment remained effective in 79% of children, with appendicitis returning in 14%. 

No serious complications related to nonsurgical treatment were reported.

“Longer-term clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of nonoperative treatment compared with appendectomy require further evaluation, preferably in large randomized trials, to reliably inform decision making,” the authors write.

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Reference

Georgiou R, Eaton S, Stanton MP, Pierro A, Hall NJ. Efficacy and safety of nonoperative treatment for acute appendicitis: a meta-analysis [published online February 17, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-3003