Tonsillectomies to treat chronic and recurrent tonsillitis

Tonsillectomies to treat chronic and recurrent tonsillitis substantially improve a patient's quality of live in both children and adults, according to two new studies published as a supplement to the January 2008 issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

In one study involving 72 adults, patients showed improvement in all six subscales of the Tonsil and Adenoid Health Status Instrument (TAHSI), a scale used to measure the quality of life (QOL) of patients pre- and post-procedure. Among the scale-related findings, 98 percent reported fewer infections in the six months following surgery, with 76.9 percent expressing strong satisfaction with the surgery results. Patients also reported substantially fewer cases of persistent bad breath (halitosis), sore throats, and trips to the doctor because of sore throats.

In the study involving children, 92 patients also showed significant improvements when measured with the same TAHSI scale, including airway and breathing, infection, health care utilization, cost of care, eating and swallowing, and behavior. Additionally, the Child Health Questionnaire-PF28 was used on 55 of the subjects in order to measure QOL with regards to general health, physical functioning, behavior, bodily pain, and parental impact. Among the study's findings were significant decreases in number of sore throats, antibiotic courses, days missed from daycare/school, doctor visits, and persistent halitosis.

Tonsillectomy remains one of the most common procedures performed on children each year, and while the number of incidences in adults is lower, it is still a routine operation. The current clinical guidelines produced by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), which were developed using consensus of expert opinions, recommend tonsillectomy for children with three or more documented tonsil infections in the span of a year.

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