When I was eight I had my tonsils and adenoids removed. I also went ahead and had my wisdom teeth extracted when I was 18 even though they weren't bothering me. Growing up, a few of my buddies had their appendixes removed. Back then (early 80's) these parts were casually hacked off and treated as unnecessary.
A recent study from Sweden found an increased risk of heart attack related to removal of appendix and tonsils before age 20.
Great, now I don't have as many sore throats, but I may have a heart attack. Super.
What do you think of this study?
Where do you stand on removal of "non-essential" parts of children?
As a mom, I am leaning toward keeping all my kids' body parts intact unless extreme trauma or infection. Should I rethink this?
asked bynone (16131)
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on June 22, 2011
at 08:10 PM
When my son was 5 years old I took him to the doctor because when he was sleeping he snored and wheezed so loudly that it sounded like he couldn't get enough air - very labored. The doctor sent us to an ENT who commented that he was surprised my son could breathe at all with the size of his adenoids - they were so large they left a very small airway for which to breathe. So he had the tonsils/adenoids removed and I think he's better off for having this done. I was supposed to have the same procedure done when I was young but I was scared to death to have a surgery and begged my mom not to take me back again. So she didn't. I wish I had had it done though, my nickname growing up was Darth Vader because of the way I breathed and I've had sinus/stuffy nose issues my whole life. I still have a hard time breathing through my nose unless I take decongestants. We aren't always built perfectly, sometimes there are flaws in our construction that modern medical procedures can make better.
on June 22, 2011
at 11:09 PM
i dunno. im not a big fan of removing anything just purely as a prophylactic (except breast and ovarian tissue for some women) but i somehow find it hard to believe that its causing heart attacks. just what my gut says. im no doctor.
im still intact, btw. except for two wisdom teeth on the bottom- i dont have any on top- and they were super impacted and causing headaches. ive also never had a cavity, and didnt have braces. my husband hates me because my dentist actually told me that "it was an honor to work with [me]". haaa! true story.
ive got no problem yanking some of those superfluous tissues out if they become bothersome, but i think generally that the tide is turning in that it used to be a lot more common to just rip 'em out unprovoked. most folks i know still have their tonsils and appendix, except for the ones who took the ambulance to the ED in the middle of the night howling in pain.
on June 22, 2011
at 08:30 PM
I'm totally with you on hanging on to all the body parts. IMO yanking tonsils is like throwing out the smoke-alarm instead of finding the fire.
But I'm not a scientist, or even a mom - just a person without tonsils. Mine were removed when I was two years old. Btw, i remember it.
on June 22, 2011
at 07:59 PM
I think that study is pure used dog food.
A dentist can tell you if and when wisdom teeth need to be removed, and more often than not they DO need to be removed unless you want your teeth all messed up.
Appendix needs to be removed if it becomes infected/inflamed or else the outcome can be death.
Now, if you could find a Dr to do a 3 for 1 special and remove tonsils, appendix AND 4 wisdom teeth for the price of 1, that might be something to look into...
on June 22, 2011
at 09:06 PM
Stephan Guyenet has done a long and extensive set of posts which should dispel the idea that getting rid of teeth for no good reason makes any sense. Especially since you didn't have problems with them, and, I assume, you are feeding the children paleolithically.
(Scroll way, way down to read them in order; the posts start out latest one first and I don't know how to flip them.)
The key for the rest of this stuff is, keep on the look out for a doctor with a clue (here's to hoping the ancestral health movement breaks out in a big way before you have to make this type of decision), and only consent to procedures if there is a clear benefit that outweighs the risks. A slightly higher risk of cancer later in life versus breathing better now; well, it is a tough decision to make, and there are a lot of questions- like, could antibiotics bring the swelling down?- but one could certainly choose to have the procedure- the child has to be able to live long enough for the increased cancer risk to even be an issue.
I guess the key thing is, diet and lifestyle tends to be preventative, modern medicine is, at best, damage control- try not to use it unless there is obviously damage. Unfortunately, at its worst, modern medicine inflicts damage, so a damage minimization strategy requires limiting exposure.
on June 23, 2011
at 05:27 PM
Perhaps a definition thing. I don't remember any pieces being chopped off prophyactically if you didn't have any problems. I do remember they were more likely to do it if you had problems, but not if you didn't. I believe these days they're more likely to dose you with misc antibiotics.
Tonsils/Adenoids. I don't remember any prophylactic removal if you didn't have problems. I had mine removed because I kept getting ear infections and it was affecting my hearing/speech. I do remember it somewhat in that I woke up as they were about to start and they had to dose me with the anaesthesia again...
Wisdom teeth, again, not prophylactic per se. Only removed if problems expected (mine were removed because they were growing in sideways). But still, not seen as critical.
Appendix, I've never heard of anyone getting this removed unless they had a problem.
on June 23, 2011
at 04:43 PM
I had my tonsils and adenoids taken out when I was five, but I am the only person I know who is my age and had it done. I really don't think surgery of any kind should be done without a reason, anesthesia is risky. All the same everyone I know who is 35ish or younger either has all their bits or good reasons why they don't.
In my case it was my ears. My tonsils were so swollen they were blocking my eustachian tubes (the ones that drain your ears) on a regular basis, resulting in a lot of ear infections.
I boiled down to a choice between removing the tonsils or putting tubes in my ears. Luckily my parents were the type who liked to include me in decisions as much as possible so they and the doctor explained the situation. My mom pointed out that tubes in my ears would mean I would have to wear earplugs when swimming and that is a problem for a kid growing up around a lot of water. They said they thought I should choose to have my tonsils out but wanted me to understand an agree with their choice. I did and I am still grateful to the respectful way they treated the decision.
I did want them to do it under local so I could watch, but the doctor said no to that one.
on January 10, 2013
at 02:49 PM
These parts are not superfluous, we just didn't know what they were for when the procedures were introduced, and now docs do what they know. The increased risk of heart attack will be because of inflammation. Inflammation is a reaction to an insult, which could be environmental or food-based. Unidentified allergies are a big cause of these things, and I agree that removing tonsils due to sore throats is shooting the messenger. Stacey at Paleo Parents has a great post on gluten intolerance and gall bladder problems. It is an interesting point to consider that, if the body is already malformed due to epigenetic deficiencies, what would be mild symptoms in a well-built person can be excruciating, but it doesn't get around the fact that surgery is designed to address the symptom and not the cause. Plus, some are saying that braces and extractions cause TMJ, so it's out of the frying pan and into the fire. Here's one blog post about the topic: http://amyeaustin.blogspot.de/2012/04/my-paediatrician-says-surgeryi-say-no.html