Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Appendicitis treatments

2-minute read

The main treatment for appendicitis is an operation to remove the inflamed appendix, known as an appendectomy or appendicectomy. The appendix is not essential for health, and the body functions normally without one.

There are two different ways to remove the appendix:

  • Laparoscopic (or keyhole surgery) — through a tiny telescope. There will be three small keyhole cuts of about 1-2cm long each.
  • Open — there will be a small cut across the right lower abdomen. 

Recovery time from surgery will vary depending on many factors, including the person’s general health, the type of surgery, and whether or not the appendix has burst.

Most people recover without too many troubles. Sometimes, the wound gets infected and this will need follow up by your doctor.

And sometimes, the appendix is found to be normal - not inflamed - after it is removed and this usually means there is another reason for the symptoms that are similar to appendicitis. Your doctor may discuss looking for another cause of the problem.

After surgery your doctor may recommend light activity for a few weeks until the surgical wound heals.

Sometimes antibiotics might be used instead of surgery but antibiotics don’t work in all cases and removal of the appendix is the main treatment. Antibiotics may be used if surgery is delayed, for example if you have to travel a long way to have the operation, or for patients who are not suitable for surgery such as being too frail. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before surgery to reduce the risk of infection.

If you think that you or someone in your care may have appendicitis, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2018

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Appendicitis -

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. It usually starts with the main symptom of pain around the navel that moves to the lower right abdomen.

Read more on myDr website

Appendicitis in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. If your child has tummy pain that could be appendicitis, she needs to see a doctor or hospital immediately.

Read more on website

Appendicitis | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is the appendix? The appendix is a coiled, 8- 12 cm tube attached to the caecum (the first part of the large intestine or bowel)

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Appendectomy - Better Health Channel

An appendectomy is usually carried out on an emergency basis to treat appendicitis.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Appendicitis - Better Health Channel

Anyone of any age can be struck by appendicitis, but it seems to be more common during childhood and adolescence.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Kids' Health - Topics - Your appendix

Your appendix is a small tube about the same size as your little finger

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Abdominal pain in children - Better Health Channel

Children may feel stomach pain for a range of reasons and may need treatment

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Laparoscopy -

Laparoscopy is a procedure that can be used to investigate and treat a variety of conditions. A laparoscope is used to view inside the abdomen or pelvis.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo