Efficacy and quality-of-life impact of adult tonsillectomy

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001 Nov;127(11):1347-50. doi: 10.1001/archotol.127.11.1347.


Objective: To determine the quality-of-life impact and overall efficacy of adult tonsillectomy for chronic tonsillitis.

Design: Cross-sectional survey analysis of patients at least 1 year after undergoing adult tonsillectomy.

Interventions and outcome measures: The Glasgow Benefit Inventory was used to quantify the health benefit of tonsillectomy. Data were collected for demographics and antibiotic use, physician visits, and workdays missed due to chronic tonsillitis for the 12 months before and after tonsillectomy.

Results: Sixty-five patients returned completed surveys. Mean age was 27.3 years, and mean follow-up was 42.6 months. The improvements in the total score (+27.1), general health subscore (+34.7), social functioning subscore subscore (+14.4), and physical functioning subscore (+9.5) of the Glasgow Benefit Inventory were each statistically significant (P<.001), indicating a significant health benefit of tonsillectomy. Statistically significant decreases in mean weeks receiving antibiotics (-7.8 weeks), mean physician visits (-5.4), and mean workdays missed (-6.3 days) were noted after tonsillectomy (P<.001).

Conclusions: Adult tonsillectomy provides a significant quality-of-life improvement for patients with chronic tonsillitis. Tonsillectomy also affords decreases in medical resource utilization and missed workdays after tonsillectomy. Such factors should be incorporated into decision making when considering tonsillectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tonsillectomy / methods*
  • Tonsillitis / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome