Surgery not the answer for children's ear infections

Surgery not the answer for children's ear infections

One of the most common childhood conditions today is otitis media, or middle ear infection.

To "treat" this condition, children are often subjected to major surgery, including surgical removal of their adenoids (adenoidectomy) and tonsils (adenotonsillectomy). In 1994, an estimated 140,000 U.S. children younger than 15 years of age underwent adenoidectomy, and an estimated 286,000 underwent adenotonsillectomy.

However, neither procedure has any long term effectiveness, according to a study reported in The Journal of the America Medical Association (JAMA).

Jack L. Paradise, M.D., of Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, and colleagues conducted two parallel, randomized controlled studies of 461 children aged 3 to 15 years with persistent or recurrent otitis media who were enrolled at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh between April 1980 and April 1994.

At random, the children either underwent adenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy, or were put in a control group.

The researchers reported that the effectiveness of surgery in both trials was modest and limited mainly to the first year, little better than the control group. Yet, surgical complications occurred in 14.6% of the subjects who underwent adenotonsillectomy.

"Given that we found both operations to have limited efficacy and in view of their not inconsiderable risks, morbidity and costs, we believe that neither operation ordinarily should be considered as an initial intervention in such children," the researchers warned.

SOURCE: "Adenoidectomy and Adenotonsillectomy for Recurrent Acute Otitis Media Parallel Randomized Clinical Trials in Children Not Previously Treated With Tympanostomy Tubes," The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999;281:954-953, Sept. 8, 1999.

The Chiropractic Journal.

Share this with your friends