Recurrent tonsillitis in adults: quality of life after tonsillectomy

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Sep;107(36):622-8. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0622. Epub 2010 Sep 10.


Background: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of tonsillectomy in adults with recurrent tonsillitis on their quality of life and on their use of medical resources.

Method: 114 patients who had had at least three episodes of acute tonsillitis in the 12 months preceding tonsillectomy were evaluated pre- and postoperatively with a questionnaire developed by the authors, and with the Glasgow Benefit Inventory.

Results: 97 patients (85%) filled out the questionnaires completely. The Glasgow Benefit Inventory revealed an improvement in the overall score (+19) and in the partial scores for general well-being (+18) and physical health (+39). The degree of support from friends and family was unchanged (±0). Significant decreases were observed in visits to a physician, analgesic and antibiotic consumption, days off from work, and episodes of sore throat. The number of visits to a physician because of sore throat decreased from an average of five preoperatively to one postoperatively; the number of episodes of sore throat, from seven to two; and the number of days taken off from work, from twelve to one per year. 65% of the patients surveyed took analgesics for sore throat preoperatively, 7% postoperatively. 95% took antibiotics for sore throat preoperatively, 22% postoperatively.

Conclusion: Although this study had a number of limitations (small size, retrospective design, short follow-up), it was able to show that tonsillectomy for adults with recurrent tonsillitis improves health and quality of life and reduces the need to consume medical resources.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs / economics
  • Patient Satisfaction / economics
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Referral and Consultation / economics
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tonsillectomy / economics
  • Tonsillectomy / psychology*
  • Tonsillitis / economics
  • Tonsillitis / epidemiology
  • Tonsillitis / psychology
  • Tonsillitis / surgery*
  • Utilization Review
  • Young Adult