A blog from WHSLA (Wisconsin Health Sciences Library Association). What do we blog about? Medicine, medical libraries, health science libraries, NLM, medicine and graphic novels, CE and conference opportunities for medical and health science librarians and library staff.
Monday, July 9, 2018
Long-term impact of tonsillectomies (from NNLM SCR Data Science blog)
I recently ran across this posting from NNLM's SCR Data Science blog. As a kid who had their tonsils out in the 1980's, I was especially interested (and a little unnerved) to read about the long-term impact of tonsillectomies.
“Tonsillitis.” via MedlinePlus.gov, April 11, 2017, Public Domain.
When I was in grade school, it seemed as if nearly every kid would miss a week of school to have their tonsils removed. They would return to school bragging about their recovery spent eating ice cream, drinking milkshakes, and watching cartons. I can almost acutely recall being jealous of these classmates. After reading new research that evaluates the long-term health risks of tonsillectomies, I realized maybe I shouldn’t have been quite so jealous!
Tonsils(link is external) are located at the back of the throat. These are knobs of tissue with one located on either side. Tonsils are part of the lymphatic system which works to clear infections and keep the balance between body fluids. Specifically, the tonsils, in concert with the adenoids(link is external), work by preventing germs from coming in through the mouse and nose.
A tonsillectomy(link is external) is a procedure to remove the tonsils. This is typically recommended for those that suffer from recurrent infections of the tonsils or when the tonsils are enlarged enough that they obstruct breathing. For adults, the tonsils are occasionally removed when there is concern for a tumor.
Over half a million(link is external) tonsillectomies are performed annually in the United States but little research has been done to determine the long-term health risks associated with this procedure. A new study released by the University of Melbourne is the first to look at potential risks. Their results suggest that individuals who undergo a tonsillectomy are at 3x the risk of their counterparts for diseases of the upper respiratory tract such as asthma, influenza, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – COPD.