Body growth in relation to tonsillar enlargement and tonsillectomy

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1992 Jul;24(1):55-61. doi: 10.1016/0165-5876(92)90066-x.


Severe airway obstruction caused by tonsillar enlargement can result in disturbances in body growth. The effect of this interference and of tonsillectomy in the child with only moderate symptoms have been less satisfactoril evaluated. In this study, 122 children with symptoms and signs of tonsillar obstruction were investigated concerning the height and weight before and after tonsillectomy. None of the individuals demonstrated cardiopulmonary complications of tonsillar obstruction. Altogether 10% of the children exhibited abnormalities in body weight and/or length prior to surgery. Especially during the first postoperative year, the weight and height gain exceeded the expected in 75% of the patients. The accelerated weight gain increased with tonsil size, but there was no relation to the extent of difficulties in swallowing or sleeping disruptions. The results support the hypothesis that tonsillar hypertrophy frequently is associated with disturbances in body growth and that this is seldom demonstrable prior to tonsillectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height*
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Infant
  • Palatine Tonsil / pathology*
  • Palatine Tonsil / surgery
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Care
  • Tonsillectomy*
  • Weight Gain