Antibiotics after appendicitis surgery prolong hospital stay

Sick woman lying in bed

New York: Antibiotic use following surgery for complicated appendicitis may do more harm than good, suggests new research.

The researchers found that patients who received antibiotics following complicated appendicitis surgery remained in the hospital up to one day longer than similar patients who had not received antibiotics.

“Our study indicates antibiotics may not be necessary following surgery for complicated appendicitis,” said lead researcher Dennis Kim from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute in the US.

The researchers studied the outcomes over five years for 410 adults with complicated appendectomies, or those where the appendix was found to be perforated or gangrenous.

Post-operative antibiotics were administered to 274 of those patients, or 66.8 percent.

The study compared patients who received post-operative antibiotics to those who had not received the medications and found no significant difference in wound complications among the two groups.

The 274 patients who received post-operative antibiotics did have slightly longer hospital stays – an average of about one day longer – than the patients who did not receive the medication.

“Antibiotics are not without risks, costs or complications. While further study is needed, surgeons and physicians may wish to re-examine or be more selective in deciding which patients may potentially benefit from post-operative antibiotic therapy for complicated appendicitis,” Kim noted.

The study was published online in the American Journal of Surgery.