Once a diagnosis of appendicitis is confirmed, the necessary treatment is usually surgery. In some cases, if the diagnosis is uncertain, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics as treatment if he or she is unsure whether the symptoms are being caused by appendicitis or something else, such as an infection.
An Overview of Appendicitis TreatmentIn most cases, treating appendicitis will involve surgery. Medication may be used as an appendicitis treatment if the doctor is unsure if the patient has appendicitis. However, surgery will be needed if the patient definitely has appendicitis.
Surgery for Appendicitis
Acute appendicitis treatment consists of surgery to remove the appendix. This operation may be performed through a standard small incision in the lower-right part of the abdomen, or it may be performed using a laparoscope, which requires three to four smaller incisions. If other conditions are suspected in addition to appendicitis, they may be identified using laparoscopy.
In some patients, laparoscopy is preferable to open surgery as a treatment for appendicitis because the incision is smaller, recovery time is quicker, and less pain medication is required.
Recovery from an appendectomy takes a few weeks. Doctors usually prescribe pain medication and ask patients to limit physical activity. Recovery from laparoscopic appendectomy is generally faster, but limiting strenuous activity may still be necessary for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Most people who are treated for appendicitis recover excellently and rarely need to make any changes in their diet, exercise, or lifestyle.
Antibiotics and Other TreatmentsIn some cases, infections may cause the same symptoms as appendicitis. Therefore, if an appendicitis diagnosis is uncertain, people may be watched and sometimes receive antibiotics. If the cause of the pain is an infection, symptoms should resolve with intravenous antibiotics and intravenous fluids. However, if the patient has appendicitis, the condition cannot be treated with antibiotics alone and will require surgery.
Occasionally, the body is able to control an appendiceal perforation (a hole) by forming an abscess. An abscess occurs when an infection is walled off in one part of the body. The doctor may choose to drain the abscess (as part of appendicitis treatment) and leave the drain in the abscess cavity for several weeks. An appendectomy may be scheduled after the abscess is drained.