Objective: Bi-national comparison of surgical treatment for paediatric otitis media.
Methods: Registry based cross-sectional study with complete data on surgery for otitis media in 2002; 21,811 Finnish and Norwegian children aged 0-16 years.
Results: Total rates for otitis media surgery were 82.5 and 146.5 per 10,000 children in Norway and Finland, respectively. Adenoidectomies were four times more frequently performed in Finland and rates for tympanostomy tube insertions differed 2-3-fold, Finland having the higher rate. The contrast in surgery rates was most striking in the age group 0-2 years. Further, the more sparsely populated regions had significantly higher overall surgery rates.
Conclusion: The large variability in the incidence of otitis media surgery between two similar countries questions whether present guidelines ensure equal treatment in similarly affected children and pinpoints the difficulty in giving advice on age, time and type of surgery.