European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 267, Issue 10, pp 1613–1617 | Cite as

Why do palatine tonsils grow back after partial tonsillectomy in children?

  • Olaf ZagólskiEmail author
Head and Neck


Within the last decade, adenoidectomy with partial tonsillectomy has been revived in children with obstructive sleep-disordered breathing caused by adenotonsillar hyperplasia, generating debate about remaining tonsillar tissue regrowth. The study examined potential risk factors of the regrowth. Prospective, nonrandomised, case series feasibility study of children meeting the criteria for palatine tonsils regrowth after partial tonsillectomy performed in patients with obstructive sleep-related breathing disorder was carried out. Out of 793 operated children, 294 after adenoidectomy and 373 after adenotonsillotomy were followed up for 4 years in 12-month intervals. In 27 children after adenotonsillotomy, regrowth of tonsillar tissue was observed. In 22 individuals after adenoidectomy alone, hyperplasia of palatine tonsils was noted. The children had bacterial cultures of pharyngeal smears and blood samples tested for anti-streptolysin O, C-reactive protein and total IgE. Caregivers completed a questionnaire reporting on: their child’s breathing after surgery; frequency, severity and treatment of upper respiratory tract infections; diet; family history of adenoidal and/or tonsillar hyperplasia; and history of allergy. As controls, 272 participants after adenoidectomy alone and 346 after adenotonsillotomy were examined. The amount of sugar in the diet and the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections after surgery differed between the groups of patients and controls. Other differences were insignificant. The tonsillar tissue remaining after partial tonsillectomy in children has a remarkable tendency to grow back, related to a diet abundant in sugar and numerous upper respiratory tract infections. Tonsillar regrowth was age related and occurred most frequently in individuals older than 7 years.


Palatine tonsils Children Partial tonsillectomy Tonsillotomy Regrowth 


Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyMedical Centre ‘Medicina’KrakówPoland
  2. 2.KrakówPoland

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