‘Unnecessary’ tonsil ops ‘costing tens of millions’
TENS of thousands of British children are having their tonsils removed “unnecessarily”, a new study suggests.
Researchers said that seven in eight youngsters given the procedure were unlikely to benefit from the operation.
These unnecessary procedures are costing the NHS tens of millions of pounds a year, they added.
The most common reason for a tonsillectomy – the surgical procedure to remove the tonsils – is a recurrent sore throat.
Evidence suggests that the procedure results in modest, short-term reductions in recurrent sore throats in severely affected children, the researchers said.
UK guidelines suggest offering a tonsillectomy for children with seven or more documented sore throats over the course of a year, they added.
But only a small number of those who received the procedure had this many sore throats, according to the study published in the British Journal of General Practice.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham analysed health records from more than 1.6 million children from 700 GP surgeries.