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Appendicitis requires treatment to reduce the risk of a ruptured, or perforated, appendix or other complications. Treatment depends largely on the type of appendicitis—chronic or acute—and the risk for perforation.

Treatment Options

Doctors typically perform surgery, known as appendectomy, to treat acute appendicitis. Appendectomy involves removal of the appendix, and is the only way to cure appendicitis. Surgeons may remove the appendix even if it has perforated. Surgical techniques include open appendectomy and laparoscopic appendectomy.

Treatment also includes antibiotics, which treat infection.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics play an important role in the treatment of this condition by treating infection. Mounting research supports the use of antibiotics to treat uncomplicated appendicitis, which is a type of appendicitis in which the appendix has not ruptured.

Surgeons usually prescribe intravenous (IV) antibiotics prior to appendectomy to reduce infection after surgery. Antibiotics for appendectomy may include:

Open Appendectomy

Open appendectomy involves an incision to the right side of the abdomen through which the surgeon accesses and removes the appendix. Open appendectomy is preferred over laparoscopic appendectomy in patients with a ruptured appendix or severe infection, as the procedure allows surgeons to clean the abdominal cavity to prevent the spread of infection to other organs. 

Laparoscopic Appendectomy

In laparoscopic appendectomy, the surgeon accesses the appendix through a few small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon inserts a thin flexible tube, known as a laparoscope, into one of the incisions. The laparoscope features a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera that displays images on a screen, which allows the surgeon to see inside the patient’s abdomen and to guide surgical instruments. The surgeon then ties off the appendix with stitches and removes the appendix through one of the small incisions.

FAQ

Can an inflamed appendix heal itself?

An inflamed appendix can sometimes heal itself, especially in people who have chronic appendicitis. However, anyone who suspects they suffer from this condition should see a healthcare provider.

What is the best treatment for appendicitis?

Appendectomy is the best treatment for most cases of appendicitis, as removing an inflamed appendix is the only way to ensure that it will not perforate.

How do you get appendicitis?

This condition develops when something blocks the flow of mucus from the appendix, causing pressure and inflammation in the appendix. In most cases of appendicitis, stool or fecal material causes the obstruction. Other tissue lining the intestines and appendix can swell to obstruct the appendix and cause appendicitis. Foreign bodies, trauma to the abdomen, and tumors can also obstruct the flow of mucus from the appendix to cause appendicitis.

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