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The ’emergency’ surgery you DON’T need

If you’re in the ER with an appendix that’s swelled to the size of a grapefruit, you’ll probably hear the doc cry out “GET HIM INTO SURGERY!”

But where you REALLY need to go isn’t to the operating room.

It’s to the pharmacy!

It’s not often you’ll hear me back drugs for any common condition, much less antibiotics — which are so overused, they’re rapidly becoming worthless.

But here’s a case of meds being the MUCH lesser of two evils, because new research confirms that antibiotics are just as effective as the scalpel for appendicitis.

In a recent study on kids, nearly every case of appendicitis improved almost immediately after a good dose of antibiotics.

Sure, in a couple of cases, it came back and the thing needed to be plucked out. But MOST of the time, the meds worked like a charm: In 75 percent of the cases, they cured the condition, which didn’t return for the yearlong duration of the study. The kids also got better faster and were back in action — and back in school — sooner.

And while the study focused on children, we’ve seen the same results in adults. You read just last year right here in the Daily Dose that up to 80 percent of all cases of appendicitis can be treated with meds. And four years ago, ANOTHER study also found that the drugs work 80 percent of the time.

Yes, there are YEARS of science behind this…yet surgery remains the “gold standard” at hospitals across the country. And I do mean GOLD: An appendix weighs just a few ounces, yet hospitals collect nearly $15,000 on average pulling them out — making the organs worth more than their weight in gold.

On the other hand, amoxicillin — one of the antibiotics proven to treat appendicitis — is on the $4 list at Walmart.

Of course, they won’t admit that it’s about the Benjamins. They’ll tell you that removing it is the safest option…and that the appendix doesn’t do anything anyway. But since studies show you might need your appendix after all — it’s actually got an emergency stash of good bacteria — you should do your best to keep it.

Besides, no surgery comes without risks — and, as we get older, it’s best to avoid getting knocked out by general anesthesia whenever possible.

If you’re in the ER and there’s a doc with an itchy scalpel finger, ask for someone else on the floor who can give you a second opinion — and ask specifically about trying an antibiotic treatment before going under the knife.

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