A recent study conducted on nearly 1.2 million children found that removing tonsils and adenoids in childhood increases the risk of long-term respiratory disorders like asthma and influenza and also allergic and infectious diseases.
The researchers suggest renewed evaluation of alternatives to these common paediatric surgeries that include removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) to treat chronic tonsillitis or adenoids (adenoidectomy) to treat recurrent middle ear infections.
Tonsillectomy was associated with an almost tripled relative risk -the risk for those who had the operation compared with those who did not - for diseases of the upper respiratory tract including asthma, influenza, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or COPD.
COPD is the umbrella term for diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Adenoidectomy was found to be linked with a more than doubled relative risk of COPD and a nearly doubled relative risk of upper respiratory tract diseases and conjunctivitis, according to the results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
"We calculated disease risks depending on whether adenoids, tonsils or both were removed in the first 9 years of life because this is when these tissues are most active in the developing immune system," said one of the study authors, Sean Byars from University of Melbourne in Australia.
The adenoids and tonsils act as a first line of defence, helping to recognise airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses and begin the immune response to clear them from the body.
(With IANS inputs)
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