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Most pediatricians consider themselves the champions of children and generally believe that supportive care, medication, and time will solve most of their patients' problems. Most surgeons recognize that an operation is a serious, sometimes risky endeavor, but it is frequently the most effective, expeditious method of helping a sick patient. This difference in philosophy is brought into sharp focus in the treatment of tonsillitis.— When is it acute and properly managed with (or without) medication? When does it become chronic? Should the tonsils ever be removed? For many years, physicians have noted great improvement in general health when children with chronically infected, obstructing tonsils undergo tonsillectomies. With the availability of antibiotics, too many tonsillectomies were still performed, sometimes for questionable indications.
Since 1970, there has been a dramatic decrease by more than half in the number of tonsillectomies being done in the United States, with no apparent ill effect on
Cantrell RW. Pediatric Otolaryngology. JAMA. 1983;250(14):1908. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340140078042
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