'Routine' tonsillectomies not so routine
January 20th, 2014
11:18 AM ET

'Routine' tonsillectomies not so routine

When Jahi McMath suffered severe complications following a tonsillectomy, and doctors declared her brain dead, many parents were shocked.

More than 500,000 tonsillectomies are performed each year on children in the United States; it's the second most common pediatric surgery. But how routine are these procedures really?

Not so much, a new study published Monday in the scientific journal Pediatrics suggests. Researchers found the quality of care before, during and after a tonsillectomy varies greatly depending on the hospital.

When routine surgeries go wrong

"We were surprised at the degree of variation between hospitals in the use of medications ... and revisits to hospitals after the surgery for complications," said lead study author Dr. Sanjay Mahant.

The study

Researchers analyzed data from the Pediatric Health Information System, looking specifically at 139,155 low-risk children who underwent tonsillectomies between 2004 and 2010 at 36 children's hospitals across the United States.

Guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recommend doctors administer dexamethasone on the day of a tonsillectomy.  Dexamethasone is used to reduce nausea and pain after surgery. The guidelines do not recommend administering antibiotics because previous studies have shown that antibiotics do not help in preventing bleeding, pain or infection after a tonsillectomy.

In addition to looking at whether hospital staff followed these guidelines, Mahant and his team also calculated the number of patients who returned to the hospital in the 30 days after surgery for bleeding, vomiting/dehydration, pain, infection and/or respiratory problems.

The results

Close to 70% of patients received dexamethansone on the day of their surgery. Nearly a third received antibiotics.

A total of 10,868 children - about 7.8% - returned to the hospital after being discharged, most for bleeding and vomiting/dehydration. Those who came in with vomiting tended to return one to two days after being discharged. Those who returned with bleeding were most likely to come in six to seven days after.

Older children were more likely to suffer from bleeding problems while younger kids were more likely to experience nausea. 


The researchers also looked at dexamethasone and antibiotic use over time, as well as the revisit rate during the study period. Dexamethasone use did not change between 2004 and 2010, but the use of antibiotics dropped significantly. The hospital revisit rate remained fairly stagnant.

Mahant and his team have held webinars with hospital administrators to educate them about the study results.

"There is definitely more work that needs to be done to understand how to reduce revisits to hospital for complications," Mahant told CNN. "One way to investigate this is by studying and learning from high-performing hospitals."

Keeping your kid safe

Parents and doctors should discuss the risks and benefits of any surgery, Mahant said.

For some children, a tonsillectomy is the necessary, or sensible option. However, he said, there are many unanswered questions regarding the the benefits of tonsillectomies for treating certain issues, such as sleep apnea.

"Parents should educate themselves about their child’s condition and treatment options, and ask questions so they feel comfortable about their decisions," he said.

soundoff (2,279 Responses)
  1. Content Marketing Firms

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Many thanks for providing these details.


    June 20, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 메이저사이트

    I blog often and I seriously appreciate your content. This great article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    June 20, 2021 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Internet Marketing Agency

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I truly believed you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    June 20, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 사설토토

    I want to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to look at new stuff you postÖ


    June 20, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Rosia Poppen

    Okay so I have two blogs, one with blogger and one with wordpress, both have the same content. However, no one is visiting my blogger site, while people are visiting the wordpress one. How can I increase traffic on the blogger site?.


    June 20, 2021 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 울산출장마사지

    I like it when individuals come together and share views. Great site, keep it up!


    June 20, 2021 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 메이저사이트

    Your style is unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.


    June 20, 2021 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Latoya Dressler

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.


    June 20, 2021 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 먹튀검증

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to come back yet again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 20, 2021 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jacques Auldridge

    I need to know how to view my posts or comments on other peoples blogs. Is there anywhere I could go to get a list of all my posts? . . Any help appreciated..


    June 20, 2021 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Donnell Kool

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service? Appreciate it!


    June 20, 2021 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Juanita Trumball

    There is certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I love all the points you made.


    June 20, 2021 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Justin Graue


    June 20, 2021 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 토토사이트

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the website is really good.


    June 20, 2021 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 토토사이트

    I wanted to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved every little bit of it. I have got you book marked to look at new stuff you postÖ


    June 20, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 부산출장안마

    Iím impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog thatís both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.


    June 20, 2021 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. www.pharmaceptica.com

    erectile implant surgery https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Judson Falt

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 20, 2021 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kacie Marungo


    June 20, 2021 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Laila Crickard

    Good day! I just want to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you've got here on this post. I am coming back to your site for more soon.


    June 20, 2021 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Violeta Szaflarski

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this topic here on your internet site.


    June 20, 2021 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Euna Grabert

    Hello there! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after looking at some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím definitely pleased I found it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    June 20, 2021 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 부산출장

    This excellent website really has all the information and facts I wanted concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 20, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 20, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 먹튀검증

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal site now 😉


    June 20, 2021 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 울산출장안마

    Everyone loves it when individuals come together and share views. Great site, stick with it!


    June 20, 2021 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. 먹튀검증

    After I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service? Many thanks!


    June 20, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. https://topphimhot.net

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 20, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. www.pharmaceptica.com

    what is in chloroquine https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 먹튀커뮤니티

    Iím impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something relating to this.


    June 20, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. churrasqueira da maia

    It's going to be end of mine day, except before finish I am reading this impressive post to increase
    my know-how.

    June 20, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. strip clubs near me

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you need to publish more about this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not talk about such issues. To the next! Many thanks!!


    June 20, 2021 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Near Me

    Good blog you have here.. Itís hard to find good quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    June 20, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. 먹튀검증

    I was more than happy to discover this site. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new stuff on your blog.


    June 20, 2021 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 먹튀검증

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 20, 2021 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Around Me


    June 20, 2021 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. meijer near me

    This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate informationÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 20, 2021 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. read this article

    Wow, this post is fastidious, my sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to let know her.


    June 21, 2021 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. massages near me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that produce the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    June 21, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Booker Greeves

    Okay so I'm to write a creative writing essay on my own personal utopia and what i would like it to be like and all that. I'm having issues starting though. I can't seem to come up with a good introduction that would lead to my thesis-which i don't even have..


    June 21, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. 포항출장마사지

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a superb articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.


    June 21, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. appliance stores near me


    June 21, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. chiropractic near me


    June 21, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. lakes near me

    I really love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own personal website and would like to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!


    June 21, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Elizbeth Ritchey

    My computer with itunes crashed, just installed itunes on new computer. How to keep ipod from syncing to it?


    June 21, 2021 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Xenia Mendes

    I like how I can ask questions on here and get pretty much instant feedback, however I kind of want to be able to just share my general thoughts and ideas and have people comment on them. Does anyone know of a blogging site that could offer me this luxury? Oh, and I don't want anything where the people that comment on it are people that know me personally, like on tumblr or facebook or something..


    June 21, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. 포항출장마사지

    Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 21, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jae Laux

    Where can I get copyright free content to write blog on the net?


    June 21, 2021 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. 먹튀검증

    bookmarked!!, I love your website!


    June 21, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. 창원출장안마

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 21, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

Leave a Reply to Click This Over Here Now Enzyme Invertase Vegan


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.