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Age, not underlying diagnosis, key factor in weight gain in children after tonsillectomy
Date:9/12/2012

Potentially worrisome weight gains following tonsillectomy occur mostly in children under the age of 6, not in older children, a study by Johns Hopkins experts in otolaryngology- head and neck surgery shows.

Sudden increases in body mass index, or BMI, have been routinely observed for months after some of the more than half-million surgeries performed annually in the United States to remove the sore and swollen tissues at the back of the throat.

The Johns Hopkins study, in 115 children in the Baltimore region, is believed to be the first to dispel long-held beliefs that such weight gains occurred mostly in children whose tonsils were removed as primary treatment for diagnosed sleep apnea, when the swollen, paired tissues partially obstruct breathing and disrupt sleep. It is also believed to be the largest study to analyze weight gain specific to every child's age group, from 1 through 17.

Although researchers have yet to pinpoint the underlying cause of the weight-gain phenomena, they did find that it happened at the same rate in the 85 children who had the surgery for obstructive sleep apnea as in the 30 who had it due to recurrent episodes of tonsil inflammation.

Senior study investigator, otolaryngologist and sleep medicine expert Stacey Ishman, M.D., M.P.H., says her team's study findings, scheduled to be presented Sept. 12 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgeons in Washington, D.C., should help alleviate rising concerns among many parents whose adolescent children are already overweight that tonsillectomy may aggravate the problem; or start one in normal weight kids. Recent surveys have shown that record numbers of American children, as many as one-third, are overweight or obese.

"Our study results show that parents' current concerns about weight gain are serious, but only underweight or normal weight children between the ages of 2 and 6 are most likely to gain ev
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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