Getting Your Appendix Out May Become a Thing of the Past

Operations to remove the appendix could soon become a thing of the past. Swedish experts claim appendicitis — when the mysterious, worm-shaped organ gets infected — can be treated effectively with antibiotics. That could spell the end of the appendectomy, one of the most common procedures carried out today. Swift removal of the appendix has been standard treatment for over a century, but researchers argue that the only risk of not operating and relying on antibiotics is another appendicitis flare-up. The condition, which causes stomach pain that travels to the lower right-hand side, can be life-threatening without quick treatment. During surgery, the appendix is removed from the body after doctors make 3-4 tiny incisions in the abdomen. The cuts are closed with staples or stitches, with most patients going home the next day and returning to normal activities within a week. Approximately 11.6 million cases of appendicitis are reported annually in the United States.