Professor leads group that created new guideline for tonsillectomies

January 7, 2011 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

A new clinical practice guideline for tonsillectomies has been created by a multidisciplinary panel of authors that was led by a University of Toledo professor.

Tonsillectomy, which is the procedure to completely remove the tonsil, is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States with more than 530,000 performed annually in children younger than 15 years old.

Despite the popularity of tonsillectomy, there was no guideline previously for the surgery in North or South America and in just a few European countries, said Dr. Reginald Baugh, UT professor and chief of surgery in the Division of Otolaryngology in the College of Medicine.

Baugh chaired the study panel that created the new guidelines. The multidisciplinary panel included representation in the fields of pediatrics, family medicine, sleep medicine, anesthesia, infectious disease, advanced practice nursing, consumers and more.

“We saw a fair amount of variation in how tonsillectomy was being practiced around the country,” Baugh said. “This new guideline, which identifies multiple opportunities for improvements, we hope will improve the quality of care for children having tonsillectomy.”

The “Tonsillectomy in Children” guideline was published in the January issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, which is the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.

Recommendations focus on patient selection with some notes for treatment during and after the surgery. The panel opted to not delve into the specifics of doing the procedure itself, but rather focus on topics that would most make a difference for the patient, Baugh said.

The topic of tonsillectomies made national news last summer when President Barack Obama used it as an example of how the fee payment schedule applies to health-care decisions. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the time was convening the panel for this study to create guidelines.

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