Currently, the removal of tonsils is recommended for children between 5 and 10 years old, but a new discovery could change the situation.
Contrary to what we thought so far, the tonsils do not shrink during adolescence, according to a new study. This unpublished information could change the timing of the operation. Currently, the removal of tonsils is envisaged for children who are between 5 and 10 years old, victims for example of more than five strep throat in the year or sleep apnea.
Maximum size at 12 years old
Since 1923, when Dr. Richard Scammon first published human growth charts, it is thought that lymphoid tissues, which include adenoids * and tonsils, reach maximum size at age 12 , then decrease to reach their adult form around 20 years of age.
Based on this finding, a team of researchers from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University measured the tonsils of 23,133 young people, at five stages of their development: 8 years, 10 years, 13 years, 16 years and 19 years . She found that tonsillar size did not vary significantly between age groups, except when the oldest group was compared with the youngest. "We have found that the actual airways themselves are getting larger, which reduces the fraction that is absorbed by adenoids and tonsils," says study director Takashi Ono.
Risk of bleeding
During an operation of tonsils, hospitalization lasts one or two days. The child is completely asleep with a mask or sting, and waking pains involve taking powerful analgesics for about four days. A week of complete rest is therefore necessary.
The number of interventions in France has today stabilized around 35,000 per year in children, against 68,000 in 2002. In one case out of 50,000, the intervention leads to the death of the patient because of complications. , including bleeding, with a risk of bleeding of 1%.
*The adenoids are located behind the nose, on the posterior wall of the nasal cavity.