The Long-Term Immunological Effects of Removing Tonsils and Adenoids

June 12th, 2018 by admin in Mouth Comments Off on The Long-Term Immunological Effects of Removing Tonsils and Adenoids

tonsilelctomy and the immunse systemIt has long been held that the long-term immunological effects of removing tonsils and adenoids were negligible. This was primarily because lymphoid tissue also occurs in the pharynx and the base of the tongue, in an anatomical configuration called Waldeyer’s ring.

A recent study was undertaken comprising of researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, at Yale University, and Melbourne University, looking at long-term follow-up of some 60,000 children who had their adenoids out, their tonsils out, or both.

Disease risk was calculated for those children who had their tonsils and adenoid out before the age of 9 years.

The findings are very salient. Analysis showed that;
• Tonsillectomy was associated with almost a triple relative risk for the diseases of the upper respiratory tract, including asthma, influenza, pneumonia and chronic obstructive airway disease.
• The absolute risk was also substantially higher, at 18.6%.
• Adenoidectomy was found to be linked with more than a doubled relative risk of upper respiratory tract diseases.
• The absolute risk for adenoidectomy was also doubled.

The conclusion of the study was that the association of adenotonsillectomy with respiratory disease later in life was considered to be considerable.

Tonsillectomy is currently indicated for severe recurrent infections, complications of tonsillitis, and as a management of obstructive sleep apnoea.

The number of tonsillectomies done each year is not diminishing, if anything, it is increasing and we need to take a fresh look at the indications for operation, specifically in children under nine years of age.

If you have any concerns, or want a second opinion about the appropriateness of adenotonsillectomy for your child, please contact us at Havas ENT Clinics.