The letter titled "The Tumble of Medical Advancement" by Dr Zinder1 raises some excellent points. We took his advice about "lessons to be learned from our ancestors" and extended our original literature search on radiofrequency tonsil reduction back to the early 20th century. We found a large body of medical literature on this subject, beginning in the 1910s, peaking in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and gradually decreasing in prevalence in the 1950s.2 We were particularly interested, as was Dr Zinder, in what factors caused these procedures to fall out of favor and whether the present temperature-controlled radiofrequency technology, new probe designs, and treatment technique that was described in an article by one of us (L.M.N.)3 rectify these factors.
Nelson LM, Boytim ML. Radiofrequency Tonsil Reduction. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001;127(10):1286-1287. doi:10.1001/archotol.127.10.1286