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Tonsils Talk

January 20, 2014

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More than a half a million kids have their tonsils taken out each year. A new study shows the level of care varies widely, depending on where they have the procedure done.

Researchers looked at data from 36 children's hospitals gathered between 2004 and 2010, everything from whether drugs for nausea and pain were used on surgery day to whether the kids took antibiotics. They also tracked how many had to return to the hospital within the first 30 days after surgery with any problems.

Some hospitals provided almost no patients with the recommended dexamethasone, compared with close to 100% of patients at other hospitals. This recommendation is based on evidence that the drug given on the day of surgery, reduces postoperative nausea, vomiting, and pain.

Use of antibiotics also varied widely. And of the nearly 140,000 children who had same day tonsillectomies, 7.8% had to revisit the hospital. The most common reasons for those returns included bleeding, vomiting and dehydration.

The researchers hope these findings help hospitals come up with better ways to treat, and keep kids from returning after tonsillectomy. It also provides parents with a good list of questions to ask, before their children have the surgery.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the information you need to protect your health.