The Mayo Clinic has access to a database that contains records of more than 8,000 patients who underwent tonsillectomy or adenotonsillectomy from 1970 to 2005. “We thought the incidence of tonsillectomy was going down, but it’s actually going up,” Dr. Orvidas said, noting that from 1970 to 1974 there were 369 (tonsillectomies) per 100,000; from 2001-2005 that number went up to 642 per 100,000.
The indications for these procedures have changed too. “We used to take tonsils out primarily for infection,” Dr. Orvidas said. “Now it’s more commonly performed for sleep-disordered breathing.”
Research also suggests tonsillectomy can help improve psoriasis. “There are no random controlled trials for this, but one retrospective and one prospective trial have showed improvement in psoriasis after adenotonsillectomy,” Dr. Orvidas said. This improvement, she added, is believed to be associated with a reduction in strep infections after surgery.