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July 28, 2021 01:06pm
By Jill Murphy, Associate Editor
Tonsil and adenoid removal surgery during childhood increases the long-term risk of respiratory, allergic, and infectious diseases, according to a recent study.
Tonsil and adenoid removal surgery during childhood increases the long-term risk of respiratory, allergic, and infectious diseases, according to a study published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
The tonsils and adenoids act as a first line of defense against airborne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. However, tonsillectomies, which often occur alongside the removal of adenoids, are often performed to correct recurring tonsillitis and middle ear infections. Adenoidectomies are performed to improve breathing when the airway is blocked.
In the study, the researchers examined the long-term effects of removing the tonsils and adenoids in children, compared with children who had not undergone the surgeries. The researchers analyzed data from Denmark of nearly 1.2 million children born between 1979 and 1999, covering at least the first 10 years and up to 30 years of their life.
Of these children, 17,640 had adenoidectomies, 11,830 had tonsillectomies, and 31,377 had adenotonsillectomies.
According to the data, tonsillectomy was associated with an almost tripled relative risk for upper respiratory diseases, including asthma, influenza, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The absolute risk was also substantially increased at 18.61%
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