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August 1987

Bacteriology of Tonsil Surface and Core in Children

Author Affiliations

Syracuse, NY

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113(8):811. doi:10.1001/archotol.1987.01860080017007

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Jason Surow, MD, and colleagues, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, obtained surface and core tonsil cultures from patients undergoing tonsillectomy to see if surface cultures were indeed indicative of what organisms are present within the tonsil, if any. At the Eastern Section meeting of the Triological Society, they reported that patients undergoing tonsillectomies were first put under general anesthesia; the tonsil was then swabbed for a surface culture and adenotonsillectomy was performed. A core biopsy specimen of the tonsil was obtained and sent for culture. The findings were provocative, with results of the two cultures disagreeing more than 50% of the time. Indeed, 43% of tonsils in which the surface culture showed normal flora yielded pathogenic bacteria from the core culture. The most common surface pathogens were Staphylococcus aureus organisms and group A β-hemolytic streptococci, with only rare Haemophilus influenzae organisms. Interestingly, the core cultures also yielded S aureus, but

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