Appendicitis is the most common reason for emergency surgery in children.
Therefore, researchers from the University of Southampton conducted a literature review to explore if antibiotic treatment is an appropriate alternative to surgery in children with uncomplicated acute appendicitis.
Across 10 trials involving 413 children, the team found that non-operative treatment was initially effective for 97% of children and at final follow-up, between eight weeks and four years later, 82% had not required an appendectomy.
The researchers conclude in Pediatrics
(online, 1 March 2017) that the results show that antibiotics appear to be an alternative treatment option to surgery, but they add that long-term randomised trials are needed to confirm clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of the approach.
 Georgiou R, Eaton S, Stanton MP et al. Efficacy and safety of non-operative treatment for acute uncomplicated appendicitis: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics 2017;139:e20163003. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-3003