Tonsillectomy: A summer activity

June 29, 2012 at 7:44 PM
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CHICAGO, June 29 (UPI) -- Along with summer camp and family reunions, an estimated 500,000 U.S. children get tonsillectomies each summer, an otolaryngologist says.

Dr. Laura Cozzi, an otolaryngologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System, in the Chicago area, said children need from 10 days to two weeks recovery time, so summer offers an ideal opportunity to get tonsil removal out of the way without interfering with school or winter holidays.

"Improving breathing, eliminating snoring and reducing colds and ear infections are usually the reasons for having tonsils removed -- usually nothing life threatening or urgent so the surgery can be arranged when it is most convenient," Cozzi said in a statement.

Sleep disturbances were the most common reason for tonsillectomies in children, as well as in adults.

"Enlarged tonsils and adenoids prevent proper air flow, leading to frequent waking during sleep and also loud snoring," Cozzi said. "This lack of healthful sleep can cause irritability, poor performance in school and even in very rare cases, developmental delays."

The rate of tonsillectomies among girls is twice that of boys, while the rate of adenoidectomy is about 1.5 times as high in boys as girls. The most common age for tonsil removal is between ages 3-7.

"Tonsils usually shrink between the ages of 7 and 8, if they don't, many parents of these school-age children want them removed to prevent existing or recurring health problems," Cozzi said.

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