Economic benefit of tonsillectomy in adults with chronic tonsillitis

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2002 Nov;111(11):983-8. doi: 10.1177/000348940211101106.


To determine the economic impact of adult chronic tonsillitis and the economic improvement from adult tonsillectomy, we studied patients who underwent adult tonsillectomy for chronic tonsillitis with the Glasgow Benefit Inventory and a questionnaire for disease severity parameters before and after tonsillectomy. The economic impact of chronic tonsillitis and adult tonsillectomy were computed with a break-even time analysis model. Eighty-three adult patients (average age, 27.3 years) completed the study with an average duration of follow-up of 37.7 months. The patients exhibited a mean improvement in quality of life of +27.54 +/- 4.63 after tonsillectomy according to the Glasgow Benefit Inventory. In the 12 months following the procedure, tonsillectomy resulted in yearly mean decreases in number of weeks on antibiotics by 5.9 weeks, number of workdays missed because of tonsillitis by 8.7 days, and physician visits for tonsillitis by 5.3 visits. In considering the medical costs of tonsillectomy only, the break-even point was found to be 12.7 years, whereas considering the overall economic impact of tonsillectomy resulted in a break-even point of 2.3 years after the procedure. We conclude that tonsillectomy results in significant improvement in quality of life, decreases health-care utilization, and diminishes the economic burden of chronic tonsillitis in the adult patient population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / economics
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Tonsillectomy / economics*
  • Tonsillitis / drug therapy
  • Tonsillitis / economics*
  • Tonsillitis / surgery


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents