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Concept: Tonsillectomy


BACKGROUND: Nanotechnology is receiving enormous funding. Very little however is known about the health dangers of this technology so far. Chronic tonsillitis is one of a number of diseases called idiopathic. Among other factors, the tonsils are exposed to suspended particles in inhaled air including nano particles. The objective of this study was to detect and evaluate metallic particles in human tonsil tissue diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis and in amniotic fluid as a comparison. METHODS: Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) was used for identification of solid particles in a total of 64 samples of routinely analyzed biopsy and cytologic material. RESULTS: Almost all samples were found to contain solid particles of various metals. The most frequent, regardless of diagnosis, were iron, chromium, nickel and aluminium. The size, determined using SEM, varied from around 500 nm to 25 µm. The majority formed aggregates of several micrometers in size but there were a significant number of smaller (sub-micrometer or nano-sized) particles present. The incidence of metallic particles was similar in child and adult tissues. The difference was in composition: the presence of several metals in adults was due to occupational exposure. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of metallic particles in pathologically altered tissues may signal an alternative causation of some diseases. The ethiopathogenic explanation of these diseases associated with the presence of nano-sized particles in the organism has emerged into a new field of pathology, nanopathology.

Concepts: Iron, Metal, Scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Tonsil, Tonsillectomy, Tonsillitis, Tonsillolith


OBJECTIVES: It has been suggested that bacterial biofilms are involved in chronic tonsillar disease, but there is a lack of strong evidence concerning their etiopathogenic role in childhood chronic tonsillar infections. The aim of this study was to assess the presence of biofilm-producing bacteria (BPB) in tonsillar bioptic specimens taken from children with recurrent exacerbations of chronic hyperplastic tonsillitis, and to evaluate the possible relationship between them and the patients' demographic and clinical characteristics. METHODS: 22 children (68.2% males; median age 6.5 years, range 3-13) with recurrent exacerbations of chronic hyperplastic tonsillitis were included. The presence of tonsillar BPB was assessed by means of the spectrophotometric analysis of tonsillar bioptic specimens taken during tonsillectomy between episodes of tonsillar infection. RESULTS: BPB were found in 50.0% of the 44 tonsillar specimens, and Staphylococcus aureus was the most frequent pathogen (81.8%). There was a significant relationship (p=0.02) between the grade of tonsillar hyperplasy (GTH) and the presence of tonsillar BPB, with an increased relative risk (RR=4.27, standard error=2.57, p<0.01) of tonsillar BPB development in children with GTH scores of >2. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study: (1) confirm the presence of tonsillar BPB in children with recurrent exacerbations of chronic tonsillar infections; (2) suggest that GTH is an important indicator of the presence of tonsillar BPB; and (3) raise the question as to whether tonsillar biofilm is a causative factor or just a consequence of recurrent exacerbations of chronic hyperplastic tonsillitis.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Infection, Staphylococcus, Biofilm, Tonsil, Tonsillectomy, Tonsillitis


Background: Sore throat is a common condition associated with acute upper respiratory tract infection, and recurrent episodes of infection may result in chronic tonsillitis. The current UK and USA guidelines for tonsillectomy use the incidence of sore throat episodes as an indication for surgery. However, the mechanism of sore throat is poorly described in the literature. Objectives: This review will provide basic information for the clinician regarding: the causes, pathophysiology and neurophysiology of sore throat; the mechanism of inflammation; and the role of transient receptor potential ion channels as nociceptors involved in sore throat. The review will present new ideas on the mechanism of ice therapy as an analgesic for post-tonsillectomy pain, and the role of vanilloid and cold receptors.

Concepts: Ion channel, Respiratory system, Upper respiratory tract, Upper respiratory tract infection, Receptors, CBC Radio One, Transient receptor potential channel, Tonsillectomy


In August 2012, the Food and Drug Administration investigated the safety of codeine use by children after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, culminating in a black box warning in February 2013. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between the investigation and opioid prescribing to children undergoing these surgeries.

Concepts: Opioid, The Association, Pharmaceutical industry, Drug addiction, Controlled Substances Act, Food and Drug Administration, Codeine, Tonsillectomy


Obstructive sleep apnea is common among children, with an estimated point prevalence of 1 to 5%.(1) Important sequelae include cardiovascular, growth, cognitive, and behavioral deficits. Adenotonsillectomy, the usual first-line treatment, most often cures or ameliorates the disorder. Each year, 77% of the 530,000 tonsillectomies in the United States are performed for obstructive sleep apnea.(2),(3) Given 4 million births in the United States annually, approximately one in eight American children will eventually have their tonsils removed, thus suggesting a prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea during childhood as high as 10%. Despite the frequency and severity of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, . . .

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Sleep apnea, Obstructive sleep apnea, Radio, Humid subtropical climate, Tonsillectomy


The 1996 Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Inpatient Guidelines of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Pediatric Otolaryngology Committee recommended that children younger than 3 years be admitted following tonsillectomy. Recommendations for hospital observation were not included as a key action statement in the 2011 AAO-HNS Clinical Practice Guidelines for Tonsillectomy in Children.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Tonsillectomy


IMPORTANCE Tonsillectomy is one of the most commonly performed otolaryngology procedures. The safety of this procedure in adults is based on small case series. To our knowledge, we report the first population-level analysis of the safety of adult tonsillectomies in the United States. OBJECTIVE To characterize the mortality, complication, and reoperation rate in adult tonsillectomy. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Retrospective cohort study of 5968 adult patients who underwent tonsillectomy with records in the database of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (2005 to 2011). INTERVENTION Tonsillectomy. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Outcomes of interest included mortality, complications, and reoperation in the 30-day postoperative period. Statistical analysis included χ2 test, t test, and multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS The 30-day mortality rate was 0.03%, the complication rate was 1.2%, and the reoperation rate was 3.2%. Most patients had a primary diagnosis of chronic tonsillitis and/or adenoiditis (82.9%), and the most common complications were pneumonia (27% of all complications), urinary tract infection (27%), and superficial site infections (16%). Patients who underwent reoperation were more likely to be male (54.0% vs 32.4%; P < .001), white (84.8% vs 75.3%; P = .02), or inpatients (24.3% vs 14.3%; P < .001) and to have postoperative complications (5.3% vs 1.1%; P < .001) than those who did not return to the operating room. On multivariate analysis, male sex (odds ratio [OR], 2.30 [95% CI, 1.67-3.15]), inpatient status (OR, 1.52 [95% CI, 1.04-2.22]), and the presence of a postoperative complication (OR, 4.58 [95% CI, 2.11-9.93]) were independent risk factors for reoperation. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In the United States, adult tonsillectomy is a safe procedure with low rates of mortality and morbidity. The most common posttonsillectomy complications were infectious in etiology, and complications were independently associated with the need for reoperation.

Concepts: Cohort study, Epidemiology, Urinary tract infection, Medical statistics, Actuarial science, Tonsil, Tonsillectomy, Tonsillitis


Eighty-five percent of investment in medical research has been wasted, with lack of effect on clinical practice and policy. There is increasing effort to improve the likelihood of research being used to influence clinical practice and policy. Tonsillectomy is one of the most common otorhinolaryngologic surgical procedures, and its frequency, cost, and morbidity create a clear need for evidence-based guidelines and policy. The first systematic review on tonsillectomy was conducted 40 years ago and highlighted the lack of definitive evidence for the procedure. Since that study, the body of evidence has still not been able to sufficiently inform policy. This review provides an overview of the key challenges in research to inform tonsillectomy policy and recommendations to help bridge the evidence-policy gap.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Clinical trial, Medical ethics, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, Otolaryngology, Tonsillectomy


A large-scale review is needed to characterize the rates of airway, respiratory, and cardiovascular complications after pediatric tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A) for inpatient and ambulatory cohorts.

Concepts: Tonsillectomy, Adenoidectomy


The incidence of oropharyngeal carcinoma, involving palatine and lingual tonsils, is increasing globally. This significant rise is driven by human papillomavirus. Whether palatine tonsillectomy affects risk of diagnosis with oropharyngeal carcinoma is unknown. The association between tonsillectomy and incidence of oropharyngeal carcinoma was explored in the Danish Cancer Registry. The association between tonsillectomy and oropharyngeal carcinoma was analyzed by time since first registration of tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy was a time-dependent variable. Individuals were censored for death, emigration, or tonsillectomy within incident year of diagnosis. Incidence rate ratios (RR) were estimated by Poisson regression models and adjusted for confounders. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were compared by the log-rank test, and HRs were estimated by Cox proportional hazards models. From 1977 to 2012, the incidence of tonsillectomies significantly decreased, whereas the incidence of oropharyngeal carcinoma significantly increased. Tonsillectomy was not associated with risk of oropharyngeal carcinoma or malignancies of other anatomic sites, including base of tongue. However, tonsillectomy significantly reduced risk of diagnosis with tonsil carcinoma [RR, 0.40; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.22-0.70]. The risk of diagnosis with tonsil carcinoma at age <60 years was significantly decreased (RRadj, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.06-0.41) after tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy within 1 year of diagnosis with tonsil carcinoma was associated with significantly improved overall survival (HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.38-0.74). In conclusion, remote history of tonsillectomy reduces the risk of diagnosis with tonsil carcinoma. These data inform risk and benefit of tonsillectomy, a common procedure and design of secondary prevention trials. Cancer Prev Res; 1-7. ©2015 AACR. See related article by Anil K. Chaturvedi, p. xxx.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Cancer, Lung cancer, Proportional hazards models, Survival analysis, Poisson regression, Tonsillectomy, Tonsillitis