On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

Study: Not everyone with appendicitis needs surgery

Share story

Appendectomies — the surgical removal of the appendix — is a common surgery. But a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that many people can get by with antibiotics instead.

In a randomized clinical trial, researchers in Finland found around 60 percent of people with appendicitis could be treated with antibiotic therapy, rather than surgery.

"For years, the idea has been that if you have appendicitis this is a surgical emergency," said Dr. Jon Hallberg of the University of Minnesota. "This [research] really turns it on its head."

Although appendicitis remains a serious condition, Dr. Hallberg says more people will now have options to treat it.

"That really is a game-changer," Dr. Hallberg said. "Most people probably do not need to have their appendix taken out when it's an uncomplicated appendicitis case."