Factors affecting quality-of-life impact of adult tonsillectomy

J Laryngol Otol. 2009 Sep;123(9):1010-4. doi: 10.1017/S0022215109005271. Epub 2009 Apr 24.


Objective: To assess the quality of life of adult patients with recurrent tonsillitis after tonsillectomy, and to determine predictive factors for patient satisfaction.

Methods: In a prospective cohort study, a Glasgow benefit inventory questionnaire was posted to 70 adult patients six months after tonsillectomy for recurrent tonsillitis. Data were obtained on patient characteristics, risk factors, tonsillitis history, and clinical and operative findings. The patients were also assessed using self-completed diary data collection regarding acute symptoms (i.e. fever, throat pain, cough and rhinitis), tonsillitis episodes and visits to a doctor, either three to six months before tonsillectomy or six months after tonsillectomy. Predictive factors were sought for inclusion in the worst 30th percentile of patients (i.e. Glasgow benefit inventory score under 18), regarding post-operative change in quality of life.

Results: Sixty-two patients (40 females, 22 males; age range 15-46 years) returned the questionnaire (response rate 89 per cent). The mean total Glasgow benefit inventory score after tonsillectomy was +26 (standard deviation 14). The mean scores for Glasgow benefit inventory subscales were: general health +25 (standard deviation 18), social functioning +5 (standard deviation 14) and physical functioning +55 (standard deviation 23). The only factors associated with low patient satisfaction were a small number of tonsillitis episodes (diary-based data) and days with fever before tonsillectomy.

Conclusions: Adult patients with recurrent tonsillitis seemed to be generally pleased with their tonsillectomy. The more symptoms they had prior to surgery, the greater was their improvement in quality of life. No other patient- or disease-related factors were associated with patient satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tonsillectomy / psychology*
  • Tonsillitis / psychology
  • Tonsillitis / surgery*
  • Young Adult