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Childhood tonsillectomy not linked to obesity in adulthood

Written by | 3 Mar 2024 | ENT

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center researchers have found that tonsillectomy in children with obstructive sleep apnea does not increase the risk of obesity in adulthood.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects 6% of children and is associated with behavioral and learning difficulties. Tonsil surgery is the primary treatment for OSA. However, the medical literature and affected families have raised concerns about post-surgery weight gain and risk for obesity.

A new study by Prof. Aviv Goldbart, Prof. Ariel Tarasiuk, and Dr. Ran Abuhasira at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center investigated the effects of childhood tonsillectomy on body weight in adulthood.

Their research, which was published yesterday in the prestigious American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, discovered in 132 children that tonsillectomy (vs. 127 who chose not to perform surgery) did not increase the risk of obesity in adulthood. This long-term study followed children who underwent a whole night sleep study at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Unit of Soroka University Medical Center in 1998, utilizing the databases of Clalit Health Services.

This study supports tonsillectomy as the primary treatment for OSA, emphasizing its health benefits and the lack of association with increased obesity risk in adulthood.

Additional researchers included Adi Shiloh and Jacov Even-Tsur.

The Israel Science Foundation supported this study (Grant No. 164/2018).

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