Although antibiotics may be cheaper, if patients need to come back for an appendectomy after antibiotics have failed, the total cost might end up being higher, said Dr. Carl Schulman, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Florida.
In addition, doctors influence a patient's decision by what they say, he added.
"You could say, 'With antibiotics, there is a four-in-five chance that you won't need an operation.' That seems very reasonable," he said. "But you could say, '20 percent of patients do come back after antibiotics and they have to have their appendix out; maybe we should just take out your appendix.'"
The best a patient can do is make an informed choice by asking questions, Schulman added.
For more on appendicitis, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Dileep Lobo, M.D., professor of gastrointestinal surgery, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, U.K.; Olaf Bakker, M.D., department of surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands; Rodney Mason, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles; Carl Schulman, M.D., associate professor of surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.; April 5, 2012, BMJ online
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