Newswise — It doesn't take much asking around to find someone who has had their tonsils removed. When asked why they had a tonsillectomy decades ago, people commonly respond, "Well, we all had them removed. It was the thing to do!" Historically, tonsils (with or without adenoids) have been removed in kids with chronic throat or tonsil infections.

However, findings from a new study presented at the 2007 AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO reveal that this common procedure is now being performed for much different reasons: sleep-disordered breathing (this includes things like snoring, restless sleep, and obstructive sleep apnea). The retrospective, population-based cohort study used the medical record linkage system of a county's epidemiology project to identify all tonsillectomy/adenotonsillectomy cases from 1970 to 2005. Demographics and surgical indication on all patients were obtained. Incidence rates were calculated separately for tonsillectomies and adenotonsillectomies, using the number of cases in each gender, age, and calendar-year group as the numerator, with the corresponding denominators obtained from published census data.

Results of the study revealed that removing both the tonsils and adenoids occurred more than twice as frequently in the years 2000-2005 than it did in the years 1970-1975. The reason for these surgeries has dramatically changed over time. In 1970, 9 out of 10 tonsillar surgeries were being done because of infection, and only 1 in 10 surgeries were for obstructing tonsils. However, in 2005, only about 3 in 10 surgeries were done exclusively for infection. Results also revealed that more girls than boys have undergone surgery of their tonsils and adenoids, with girls between the ages of 18-22 being almost 3 times more likely than boys at this age to have chronic infections that required the surgery.

The findings suggest that more than ever, parents and physicians are recognizing the signs and symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in children and are opting for surgery as their treatment of choice.

Title: Changes in Indications and Incidence of AdenotonsillectomyAuthors: Britt Erickson, Dirk R. Larson, MS, Jennifer St. Sauver, PhD, Ryan Allan Meverden, BS Mathematics, Melissa Westergren, BA, Laura J Orvidas, MDDate: Tuesday, September 18, 8:18 am - 8:26 am

Information for the Media: The AAO-HNS Annual Meeting newsroom will be located in Registration East, Street Level of the Washington, DC Convention Center. Hours of operation: Saturday, September 15, 12 pm to 5 pm; Sunday - Tuesday, September 16 -18, 7:30 am to 5 pm; and Wednesday, September 19, 7:30 am to 2 pm. The newsroom serves as a work space for credentialed members of the media and credentialed public relations staff. The newsroom is managed and staffed by the AAO-HNS Communications Unit. Please see the AAO-HNS website for media credentialing requirements for the event -

About the AAO-HNSThe American Academy of Otolaryngology " Head and Neck Surgery (, one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents more than 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's mission: "Working for the Best Ear, Nose, and Throat Care."

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2007 AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO