Tens of thousands of British children are having their tonsils removed "unnecessarily" and needlessly costing the NHS £40million a year, according to a new study.
A new United Kingdom study has found that only one in every eight children who have tonsillectomies benefit from the operation...
The most common reason for a tonsillectomy - the surgical procedure to remove the tonsils - is a recurrent sore throat.
"It's hugely important to regularly review the benefits of all treatments and procedures in medicine based on new emerging research and evidence", she said.
He added: "Whether or not your child has their tonsils out; they will probably get over it in the next couple of years".
"The other thing to say is a great majority of children who are severely affected still do not have their tonsils out".
Medical guidance suggests the operations should only be offered to children with the most persistent sore throats, amounting to seven episodes in a year, or three a year for three years.
The researchers found that of those who had undergone a tonsillectomy, 12.4 percent had reported five to six sore throats in a year; 44.7 percent had suffered two to four sore throats in a year; and 9.9 percent had just one sort throat in a year.
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Other reasons for children undergoing tonsil removal included obstructive sleep apnoea and other sleep disordered breathing.
"In the United Kingdom, few children with evidence-based indications undergo tonsillectomy and seven in eight of those who do (32,500 of 37,000 annually) are unlikely to benefit", the authors wrote.
"If your child is very severely affected there is a modest benefit [to having the operation], but the bottom line is that even the most severely affected children don't always have their tonsils out and they seem to grow out of [sore throats] - it doesn't lead to any long-term problems", said Tom Marshall, professor of public health and primary care at the University of Birmingham and a co-author of the research.
Prof Nirmal Kumar and Prof Carl Philpott of ENT UK said surgeons base their decision on whether to offer a tonsillectomy to a child on a number of sources, including a referral letter from the child's GP and a careful discussion of the child's history with the parents. In those children with enough documented sore throats, the improvement is slightly quicker after tonsillectomy, which means surgery is justified.
"Research shows that children with frequent sore throats usually suffer fewer sore throats over the next year or two".
Two or three children per 1,000 underwent tonsillectomy annually between 2005 and 2016 - but fewer than one in eight of them met the recommended criteria. "It makes you wonder if tonsillectomy is ever really essential in any child".
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