Seven in eight children who have their tonsils removed DO NOT need surgery

Seven in eight children who have their tonsils removed DO NOT need surgery

More than 30,000 British children needlessly have their tonsils removed every year, researchers have warned – costing the NHS of millions of pounds anually.

Experts at the University of Birmingham examined the medical records of 1.6 million children in GP practices between 2005 and 2016.

They found that 88 per cent – approximately seven in eight – of children who had undergone an operation to remove their tonsils were unlikely to benefit from the procedure.

On the other hand, many other children who have missed out on the surgery.

The popularity of tonsil removals has already been plummeted. In the 1950s, nearly 250,000 tonsillectomies were done a year on the NHS. Today the figure is nearer 40,000.

The reduction in operations is part of the NHS drive to be cut back on a number of 'unnecessary procedures' taking place in the UK annually, where the 'risks outweigh the benefits'.

More than 30,000 British children needlessly have their tonsils removed every year (stock)

More than 30,000 British children needlessly have their tonsils removed every year (stock)

More than 30,000 British children needlessly have their tonsils removed every year (stock)

The researchers, writing in the British Journal of General Practice, predict 32,500 of the 37,000 tonsillectomies carried out among children on the NHS each year could have been avoided.

That would save £ 37million a year.

According to NHS guidelines, if they have had more than seven sore throats in one year, more than five sore throats per year for two successive years, or three sore throats per year for three successive years.

12.4 per cent of those who had reported having only five or six sore throats in a year.

Some 44.7 per cent had sore throats in one year and 9.9 per cent.

Professor Tom Marshall, of the University of Birmingham, said: 'Research shows that children with frequent sore throats usually suffer fewer sore throats over the next year or two.

In those children with just documented sore throats, the improvement is slightly quicker after tonsillectomy, which means surgery is justified.

TONSIL REMOVAL: ONCE ROUTINE, NOW SHUNNED BY NHS

The popularity of tonsil removals has already been plummeted in recent years.

In the 1950s, nearly 250,000 tonsillectomies were done a year on the NHS.

Today the figure is nearer 40,000.

In a year, more than five sore throats per year for two successive years, or three sore throats per year for three successive years.

100,000 'unnecessary procedures' taking place in the UK annually.

NHS England said earlier this year, hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved by tightening criteria for treatments where 'the risks … outweigh the benefits'.

Studies have shown that the patient has undergone a tonsillectomy.

Similar to all types of surgery, the operation to remove the tonsils carries the risk of bleeding, infections and reactions to anesthesia.

'But research suggests children with fewer sore throats do not benefit enough to justify surgery, because the sore throats tend to go away anyway.'

He added: 'Our research has shown that most children have not been affected.

'While on the other hand, most children were severely affected with frequent sore throats did not have their tonsils removed.

The pattern changed little over the 12 year period.

Children may be more harmed than helped by a tonsillectomy.

Ever a little minority ever have their tonsils out.

'It makes you wonder if tonsillectomy is ever really essential in any child.'

It comes after a previous study, published in June, suggested that removing tonsils in childhood could raise the risk of health problems later on.

That research, published by the University of Melbourne in Australia, found children who had their tonsils removed at the age of three times the risk of throat, nose and sinus infections as adults.

By contrast, the risk of tonsillitis – what the surgery was meant to treat – which is barely reduced in the long term.

The NHS announced in June tonsillectomies were on its list of 17 routine procedures facing the ax, as officials seek to save the cash-strapped service £ 200million.

Among the minor operations listed by health chiefs were varicose vein surgery and breast reductions.

Search treatments have been posted as 'ineffective or risky' and are not alternative.

Studies have shown that the patient has undergone a tonsillectomy.

Similar to all types of surgery, the operation to remove the tonsils carries the risk of bleeding, infections and reactions to anesthesia.

Surgeons redefined the criteria for undergoing the procedure because of the high rate of the procedure in the 1950s – leading to the decrease in recent years.

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