Acute Appendicitis

Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Appendicitis Treatment

Different medical providers may take different steps to treat appendicitis. The most common treatments for appendicitis13, however, are antibiotic medications and/or surgery.

Appendicitis medication

Appendicitis is commonly treated with antibiotics. Most patients will need to begin taking antibiotics immediately upon receiving a diagnosis of acute appendicitis. If the appendix has not yet burst, a healthcare provider may wait to see if antibiotic treatment is enough to resolve a patient’s symptoms.

Your provider may prescribe the following medications for appendicitis:

May be prescribed

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Some medical practitioners believe that all inflamed and/or infected appendixes should be removed. Even if you do undergo surgery, however, you will likely receive antibiotics before your procedure to help curb existing infections. You will also need to take antibiotics after your surgery to prevent new infections from forming.

Appendicitis surgery

Several surgeries may be used to treat acute appendicitis. Which procedure is necessary usually depends upon the cause and severity of your appendicitis. It’s important that you take care to closely follow any instructions given by your healthcare provider and the specialist performing your surgery.

  • Laparoscopic surgery: These surgeries are minimally intrusive: they only require cutting one small hole in the abdomen. Your surgeon will insert surgical tools and a camera into this hole and use those tools to remove the appendix. Most of the time, laparoscopic surgery allows for a faster recovery than traditional or more invasive surgeries do. The specifics of your case, however, may indicate that open surgery is a better option.
  • Open surgery: Open surgery, which is more invasive than laparoscopic surgery, involves making one or several small cuts in the abdomen. Through these incisions, a surgeon will remove the appendix and perform any other work that needs to be done to help you heal properly and without complications.

Most medical providers choose open surgery when an appendix has ruptured or when an abscess has formed around it. This is because the procedure gives them the space they need to clean out the entire abdominal cavity and ensure that an infection does not spread to other areas of the body.

  • A shunt or drain: If an abscess has formed around your appendix, a shunt may need to be inserted to drain the pus and infection before you can undergo surgery. Inserting a shunt involves a short surgical procedure. Once it is inserted, you will need to remain in the hospital until the abscess has drained and your infection is under control. At that point, your medical staff will perform your surgery and remove your appendix so it doesn’t cause any further problems.

After surgery, you will get a list of rules that you will need to follow for the healing process to complete without complications. Your movement will likely be restricted for a while to allow your body and your incisions to heal. You may need to take some time off work, refrain from exercise, and not perform any physically demanding tasks. You will also need to take certain medications—usually, antibiotics and pain medication.

If your appendix did not burst, your recovery will likely only take a few days. If it did burst, however, recovery time can be much longer, depending on whether you suffered any complications from the burst.

No matter how long it takes, your health should return to normal after undergoing surgery on your appendix. Once the healing process is complete and you have regained your strength, life without your appendix shouldn’t look very different from life with it. You should not have to make any long-term dietary or exercise/movement changes in response to acute appendicitis.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.