Effect of tonsillectomy on health-related quality of life and costs

Acta Otolaryngol. 2013 May;133(5):499-503. doi: 10.3109/00016489.2012.728716.


Conclusion: Tonsillectomy (TE) seems to be a cost-saving procedure with a positive effect on a patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore how TE affects health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the costs due to health service use and absence from work.

Methods: All 557 patients over the age of 15 years undergoing scheduled TE in the Helsinki University Central Hospital's Otorhinolaryngological Department between February 2008 and June 2009 were asked to participate and to complete the 15D HRQoL questionnaire as well as a questionnaire exploring the use of health-care services during the preceding 3 months. Follow-up questionnaires were sent 6 and 12 months after the operation.

Results: Of the 557 patients, 124 (22%) answered all three questionnaires. Preoperatively the patients were significantly worse off than the age- and gender-standardized general population. TE improved their HRQoL on 6 of the 15 dimensions, and overall (15D score improved from baseline 0.939 to 0.959 at 12 months, p < 0.001). The most marked improvement (p < 0.001) occurred on the dimensions of breathing, sleeping, and discomfort and symptoms. Self-reported costs due to health service use and absence from work distinctly diminished.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / economics
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / etiology
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / surgery*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tonsillectomy / economics*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult