How to determine if an appendix will require emergency surgery

If doctors perform a CT scan on the patients that present with an inflamed appendix they will be able to determine if the appendix has ruptured, which requires emergency surgery to be performed immediately, or if the appendix is in immediate danger of rupturing. The ones that are not in an immediate danger of rupturing could be treated with a round of antibiotic therapy, then evaluated to see if they are still a potential threat.


The long standing treatment for appendicitis has been an appendectomy. That is the surgical removal of the appendix. This is a highly invasive procedure that requires hospitalization, causes scarring, and may have severe side effects like secondary infections.

Doctor Paulina Salminen of the Turku University Hospital located in Finland says that at least eighty percent of the people who get an inflamed appendix could be treated using antibiotics instead of surgical intervention. Some people who receive antibiotic treatment for this condition will still have to have their appendix removed, but the majority of those individuals will suffer no undue side effects from the antibiotic treatment, or the delay in the surgical intervention.

The study on antibiotic therapy for appendicitis

For the purpose of the study, five hundred and thirty individuals with acute appendicitis were evaluated and if they were not in danger of a ruptured appendix they were placed on a ten day antibiotic therapy.

The Results of the study

The results were very promising. Seventy three percent of the patients who received the antibiotic therapy did not later have to have an appendectomy. Twenty seven percent of the patients who received the antibiotic therapy did eventually have to have their appendix surgically removed at some point in the twelve months following the acute appendicitis attack.

None of the patients who were given the antibiotic therapy displayed any signs of complications because they chose antibiotic treatment before a surgical procedure was ordered.

What this might mean for the future

This could mean a large reduction in healthcare costs, and in pain associated with an appendicitis attack.

The appendectomy is a surgery that is over ninety nine percent effective in relieving the patient’s pain from their appendix, but there is pain associated with the patient recovery after surgery.

Patients have to miss time at work, or at school after the surgery, and the hospital bills, the doctor bills, and the anesthesiologist bills quickly mount up. The antibiotic therapy lasts for ten days does not normally require hospitalization and put the patient at a much lower risk of complications, and high bills.

What this means for healthcare professionals

In order to save patients money, pain, and the trauma of surgery it would be wise for healthcare professionals to order a CT scan, evaluate the severity of the appendix and then determine if antibiotic therapy might be the safest form of treatment.