Tonsils removed unnecessarily?

Thousands of kids unlikely to benefit from the operation


Children's tonsils are 'being removed unnecessarily'

"Too many children have tonsils removed unnecessarily," BBC News reports.

The claim was prompted by a new study that suggests 7 out of 8 children who have their tonsils removed (tonsillectomy) will experience no benefit.

A tonsillectomy is recommended if a child has 7 or more sore throats from infected tonsils (tonsillitis) in the past year.

Evidence suggests the procedure doesn't really help much for less frequent tonsillitis.

This study reviewed medical records from more than 700 general practices between 2005 and 2016 to see how many tonsillectomies were performed for children, and the reason for doing so.

Overall, 2.5 children per 1,000 had a tonsillectomy each year. But only 1 in 8 of these cases met recommended criteria for the procedure.

The study provides a valuable insight, but medical records may not have provided the full picture – they may not have captured all the reasons why a tonsillectomy was performed.

The findings highlight a need for clearer and more up-to-date guidelines for GPs to follow about when to refer children for tonsillectomies.

Current guidelines around recurrent tonsillitis in children are from nearly 10 years ago and based on a fairly low level of evidence.

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Adenoid and tonsil removal | Health Information | Bupa UK

A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your tonsils (small lumps of tissue that lie at the back of your throat). You may need your tonsils removed if you regularly have tonsillitis – a sore throat caused by inflamed tonsils. This is particularly common in children.

Your airways can also get blocked by large adenoids and you may need an adenoidectomy. Adenoids are small lumps of tissue that lie where your throat meets the back of your nose. Large adenoids can cause a blocked nose, mouth breathing, hearing problems, regular ear infections and sore throats. Removing the adenoids will help with these problems.

You’ll meet the surgeon carrying out your procedure to discuss your care. It may be different from what’s described here, as it will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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