(HealthDay News) — Adult tonsillectomy appears to be safe, with low rates seen for mortality and morbidity, according to a study published online January 30 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

In an effort to characterize mortality, complication, and reoperation rates, Michelle M. Chen, from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, and colleagues conduced a retrospective cohort study involving 5,968 adult patients who underwent tonsillectomy.

The researchers found that the 30-day mortality, complication, and reoperation rates were 0.03, 1.2, and 3.2%, respectively. For most patients (82.9%), the primary diagnosis was chronic tonsillitis and/or adenoiditis. Pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and superficial site infections were the most common complications (27, 27, and 16%, respectively). Compared with patients who did not return to the operating room, those who underwent reoperation were significantly more likely to be male (54.0 versus 32.4%; P<0.001); white (84.8 versus 75.3%: P=0.02); or inpatients (24.3 versus 14.3%; P<0.001); and to have postoperative complications (5.3 versus 1.1%; P< 0.001). Independent risk factors for reoperation included male sex (odds ratio [OR], 2.30), inpatient status (OR, 1.52), and the presence of a postoperative complication (OR, 4.58), on multivariate analysis.

“In the United States, adult tonsillectomy is a safe procedure with low rates of mortality and morbidity,” the authors write.

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