Most tonsil operations 'needless'
Daily mail 10 Sept 2004
TOO many needless tonsil operations are being carried out, according to a study published yesterday.
Tonsillectomies have become common procedures in the West, with 45,000 in Britain every year.
But doctors are being far too hasty to use them to treat minor throat infections claim researchers, and simply waiting see how a child's condition develops is often just as effective.
The study highlighted big variations in the number of operations carried out between countries.
Adenotonsillectomies - where both the tonsils and adenoids are removed - were performed on 115 of every 10,000 children in Holland, but only 50 per 10,000 in 1998. In Britain the rate was 65 per 10,000 children. The Dutch researchers monitored 300 two to eight-year -olds, of whom half had surgery and half were subject to 'watchful waiting', over two years.
They found rates of fever were lower during the first six months after an operation. But from then on, there were no differences between the two groups.
Writing in the online version the British Medical Journal, they concluded that the operation 'little clinical benefit'.