Families Can Safely Choose Antibiotics Over Appendix Surgery for Kids

Offering the families of children with appendicitis the option of antibiotics instead of surgery is safe and may ultimately lead to slightly better outcomes, according to a new U.S. study.

Researchers found that when families chose antibiotic treatment for kids with simple appendicitis, instead of going immediately for surgery, the children often recovered without ever needing surgery. Kids were also out of commission for fewer days and ended up with a smaller healthcare bill than those whose families picked surgery.

“There is a relatively good body of literature in adults and also in children that shows patients and parents involved in the decision process do better,” said Dr. Peter Minneci, of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix, a small pouch of tissue off the large intestine, becomes inflamed. The condition can be caused by an infection, blockage, trauma or intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease.