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Maine Hospital Involved In Study Finding Antibiotics May Be Effective Treatment for Appendicitis

David Sharp
Associated Press file
Maine Medical Center in Portland in July 2015.

Some appendicitis patients can be treated with antibiotics instead of surgery. That’s according to a new study by about a two dozen hospitals, including Maine Medical Center.

Maine Med surgeon Dr. Damien Carter says that most people with uncomplicated appendicitis may be able to avoid surgery if they initially receive antibiotics.

“You’re just as good with antibiotics than surgery,” in about 7 in 10 cases, he says, “and if you take the antibiotic choice, even if you end up having the appendectomy, your condition won’t get worse, it won’t perforate or anything because you took the antibiotics. I think that’s the big take-home point.”

The remaining three in 10 patients who took antibiotics still needed an appendectomy within 90 days.

According to Maine Medical Center, the study involving more than 1,500 adults is the largest randomized clinical trial of appendicitis conducted to date. The results were published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine.