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Tonsillectomy linked to weight gain

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Children who had tonsillectomies -- with or without the removal of adenoids -- have an increased risk of becoming overweight, U.S. researchers say.

Study author Dr. Anita Jeyakumar, who practices Otolaryngology near St. Louis, says the research involved 795 children ages 18 and younger, described as normal weight or overweight, who had tonsillectomy or adenotonsillectomy surgery.

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The study, scheduled to be published in the February issue of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, finds in 47.7 percent of the patients, the primary reason for surgery was sleep-disordered breathing.

The first group included three studies involving 127 children, whose body mass index increased by 5.5 percent to 8.2 percent. The second group included three studies involving 419 patients, in whom the standardized weight scores increased in 46 percent to 100 percent of patients.

The third group included three studies with 249 patients, among whom 50 percent to 75 percent of the patients gained weight after adenoidectomy.

"There may have been a variety of proposed mechanisms for the weight gain following adenoidectomy," Jeyakumar says in a statement. "Children with chronic tonsillitis may have dysphagia or odynophagia that may lead to a reduced calorie intake. When the diseased tonsils are removed, the child then is able to consume additional calories. Parents may also feel impelled to over-feed their child when recovering from chronic illness or surgery, further adding to caloric intake and weight gain."

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