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Study Suggests Antibiotics Instead Of Appendix Surgery For Children

Update Date: Feb 19, 2017 07:00 AM EST

A new study from the University of Southampton has found that antibiotics treatment may just be as effective as appendix removal for children with acute non-complicated appendicitis. At least 60 patients will be recruited for the year-long trial. This can pave way for non-surgical treatments in the future.

Appendicitis is more common in children between 10 and 20-years-old. Around seven out of every 100 will be diagnosed with appendicitis in their lifetime. Appendectomy is the most common general surgical emergency in children.

If the inflamed organ is left untreated, it can burst and lead to death. Currently, it is being treated with antibiotics first and then later surgery to stop it from reoccurring in later life.

Huffington Post reported that a 2009 survey of pediatric surgeons in the UK showed that 68 percent routinely recommend appendix removal for all children after a course of antibiotics. But due to a risk of post-surgery complications, such as wound infection and hernia, the researchers wanted to determine if the second step was strictly necessary in all cases.

According to The Sun, Professor Nigel Hall, of Southampton University will lead the trial next month. Researchers examined previous research and found that appendix removal could be avoided. There is no safety concern or specific problems where antibiotics were used instead of surgery.

Hall said that surgery "is invasive and costly, not to mention extremely daunting for the child concerned and their family." Hall and his team looked into literature that has been published over the past decade that included ten studies on 413 children who had non-surgical treatment. A similar trial in Finland found that most kids that were treated with antibiotics did not need operation later.

Hall said the patients who will join the trial will be divided in two groups. The other half will be given antibiotics and the others surgery so that they can compare methods and explore if antibiotics can do a better job. The NHS said in a statement that they will incorporate the new research into treatment guidelines in the UK.

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