Trends in Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy in the U.S.
Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy rates in the United States have varied over the last fifty years, following a general pattern of decline. In hospitals in 1965, the tonsillectomy rate in the U.S. was 63.4 per 10,000 for all age groups, and 165.6 per 10,000 for children under 15 . Two decades later (1986), these rates had dropped to 11.7 per 10,000 for all age groups and 33.9 per 10,000 for children under 15 .
Between 1990-91 and 2000, the hospital tonsillectomy rate for children under 18 dropped from 10.7 per 10,000 to 2.1 per 10,000 .
Although the data do not give a crystal-clear picture (see "Confusing Data") below), the trend has been a decline in both tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies. This decline is due to the increasing use of antibiotics to treat tonsillitis, decreasing the need to treat the condition surgically .