Research finds benefits for adults who have tonsils removed

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Take fewer sick days and less medication than those who leave their tonsils in

A study followed 83 chronic tonsillitis sufferers over a three-year period. Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers found that removing the tonsils was ultimately more effective than antibiotic treatments because those patients who had their tonsils extracted missed only 0.6 days of work a year on average after their tonsillectomy, versus 9.2 workdays before the surgery. “The myth persists that if you’re an adult, you shouldn’t have your tonsils removed,” said Assistant Professor of Otology and Laryngology Neil Bhattacharyya of BWH. “But for people who get tonsillitis several times a year, the surgery makes sense, medically, financially, and from a quality-of-life perspective.” Bhattacharyya’s findings also included how long patients remained on antibiotics over the course of a year. Before tonsillectomy, patients spent an average of six and a half weeks a year taking antibiotics, whereas after tonsillectomy the same patients averaged less than a day per year on antibiotics. The study was published in the November 2002 issue of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology.