Some 'Allergic' to Stress-Reduction Classes KATHLEEN DOHENY and COUNTERPOINT Age and Tonsil Surgery and For years, most doctors have been reluctant to remove the tonsils of
young children, arguing that it's safer to wait until a child is at least 3 years old. But a study published in the Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery has challenged that view. According to the study, the surgery can be safely performed in very young children when needed. (Among the most common reasons to perform tonsillectomies in young children: recurrent tonsillitis, nasal obstruction with labored breathing, apnea (temporary cessation of breathing) and upper airway obstruction.) But not all experts are swayed by the new study. Here are two views on the best age for tonsillectomy candidates. and DR. GEORGE ZALZAL, ear specialist and co-author of the study; assistant professor of otolaryngology and pediatrics, Children's Medical Center, George Washington University, Washington and "I do not want to give the impression that tonsillectomy is a simple procedure in young children. We need to be very careful about why the child needs the operation. The most common indication in these young children is upper airway obstruction due to large tonsils, which can lead to apnea, the cessation of breathing. The decision to perform tonsillectomy should be made without regard to the age of the patient, provided surgery is carried out for appropriate indications." and DR. ALAN D. KORNBLUT, ear specialist and clinical professor of otolaryngology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington; professor of surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda , Md. and "One cannot generalize about age for tonsillectomy . . . . But under most circumstances, tonsillectomy (represents) elective surgery. Except for certain conditions, surgery can be safely postponed until the child is large enough so the potential problems with anesthesia and blood loss are minimized. For elective tonsillectomy, it is better to wait until the child is age 3 . . . . Realistically, no harm is usually done waiting until a child is bigger."