Do postoperative antibiotics prevent abscess formation in complicated appendicitis?

Am Surg. 2014 Sep;80(9):878-83.


Recent studies have shown that postoperative antibiotics in nonperforated appendicitis do not reduce infectious complications; however, there is no consensus on patients with complicated appendicitis. The aim of this study is to determine whether postoperative antibiotic administration in complicated appendicitis prevents intra-abdominal abscess formation. We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients undergoing appendectomy from 2007 to 2012 at our institution. Patients with complicated appendicitis (perforated, gangrenous, or periappendiceal abscess) were identified and data collected including details of postoperative antibiotic administration and rates of postoperative abscess development. Of 444 charts reviewed, 52 patients were included. Forty-four patients received greater than 24 hours and eight patients received 24 hours or less of postoperative antibiotics. In those receiving greater than 24 hours of antibiotics, nine of 44 (20.5%) developed a postoperative abscess, and in those receiving 24 hours or less of antibiotics, two of eight (25.0%) developed a postoperative abscess (P = 1.0000). There is no significant difference in postoperative abscess development among those with complicated appendicitis who received greater than 24 hours of postoperative antibiotics compared with those who did not. Postoperative antibiotics may not provide an appreciable clinical benefit for preventing intra-abdominal abscesses; however, larger sample sizes and prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Abscess / epidemiology*
  • Abdominal Abscess / etiology
  • Abdominal Abscess / prevention & control*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Appendectomy / adverse effects
  • Appendectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Appendicitis / epidemiology*
  • Appendicitis / surgery*
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Drainage / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents