Increased risk of diseases after tonsil removal?
Researchers have now found that removing your tonsils as a child triples your chances of getting colds and other respiratory infections later in life. Affected people are also more susceptible to a variety of infectious diseases.
In their current study, the University of Melbourne scientists found that the risk of further illnesses in the rest of life increased significantly if the tonsils were removed as a child. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery".
Affected people are also more likely to develop allergies
The removal of tonsils in childhood also increases the likelihood of developing allergic diseases and skin and eye diseases, the Australian experts say. This is likely due to the fact that this tissue plays an important role in the early immune system by recognizing and blocking the entry of bacteria and viruses into the lungs and throat, the scientists add. In children, tonsils are often removed if they hinder breathing or if they repeatedly cause tonsillitis and / or otitis media.
The risk of illness was sometimes massively increased
The researchers advise that those affected should consider alternatives to tonsil surgery. The increased risk after surgery was significant in many diseases. In some diseases, the risk was even increased, the experts say.
Data from 1.2 million children were evaluated
For the study, the physicians analyzed the health records of 1.2 million Danish children between 1979 and 1999. Of the participants, 60,400 had tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or combined surgery. The same subjects were examined again years later (after they were 30 years old). When patients had tonsillectomy in childhood, this tripled their risk of upper respiratory tract infections such as colds, runny nose and bronchitis compared to people who kept their tonsils. The risk of asthma and pneumonia was also increased by about 50 percent in the operated patients, the scientists add.
Study enables better understanding of immune tissue
The results show an increased risk of long-term illnesses after tonsil surgery. In addition, the study enables a better understanding of the function of the immune tissue and the lifelong consequences of the removal of the tonsils, explains study author Dr. Shaun Byars from the University of Melbourne. Removal of the adenoids, the tissue on the back of the upper jaw below the nasal cavity, doubles the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and asthma. However, these diseases are much rarer than respiratory infections. Only 0.25 percent of the total population suffer from some form of COPD in their 30s, so the effects are less relevant, the doctors say.
Should key components of the immune system be removed?
The removal of key components of the body's immune system affects susceptibility to respiratory infections, which is not really surprising, the authors explain. However, the experts also found an increased susceptibility to 28 different types of diseases, including parasitic infections, skin diseases and eye problems. 78 percent of these were observed more frequently in patients with tonsil or adenoid surgery. The results of the study will allow people to learn more about the function of immune tissue and the lifelong consequences of its removal, especially in sensitive times when the body is still developing, the scientists add. (as)