More than a half million children have a tonsillectomy each year, making it the second most common surgery for the age group. However, the most common reason for surgery is not actually tonsillitis. Dr. Archelle Georgiou discusses the real reason for the numerous surgeries.
Three quarters of the surgeries that are tonsillectomies are done for sleep apnea in children.
These procedures used to be done very frequently for tonsillitis but that stopped in the 1970s. A tonsillectomy is actually not that effective for tonsillitis unless it's a really severe case, and you have many recurrent infections, but it does work for sleep apnea.
A recent study looked at children between the ages of 5 and 9, comparing those who had a tonsillectomy and those who did not. Seven months later, they saw that the children who had the surgery exhibited less snoring, better quality sleep and other decreased symptoms of sleep apnea versus the children that did not have the surgery.
In children, sleep apnea is very frequently caused by an enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids, and the surgery helps correct the issue.
Watch the video for Dr. Archelle Georgiou's analysis.