4

votes

Routine Tonsillectomies / Appendectomies for Kids - Is this Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 22, 2011 at 7:49 PM

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?

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on June 23, 2011
at 05:28 PM

I had to have mine (3) removed. 2 of them were growing in sideways.

3f5bbb444498a24f1a9720d75fa7c903

(2369)

on June 23, 2011
at 02:01 AM

I have all my wisdom teeth (and I am 52). At age 30, the dentist I have gone to all my life finally stopped telling me I might have to get them removed one day. They are all completely in and fine. Oddly, my daughter has no wisdom teeth at all, confirmed by x-rays - not even seed teeth.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 23, 2011
at 12:34 AM

omfg. that is weird. where else would they get them, i guess? makes sense, but still........weird. and thank you, meredith. i always think that about your answers. :)

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:44 PM

If I was prone to conspiracy theories(not really, but they do often cross my mind)...That might really bug me lol

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Your answers are always so thoughtful. Thanks. Totally off topic, but you said superfluous tissues and I remembered this: did you know that all those bits and pieces from surgery and biopsies can be used for commercial purposed to come up with new drugs and therapies? Weird.

776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

(1069)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:12 PM

Thanks for posting that link! Reading WAP's book made a big impact on me, but Stephan always explains things so well... there's a money shot in there of an ancient skull with all of its wisdom teeth, straight as an arrow. I only wish that my parents had been Paleo, because unfortunately my jaw was not quite big enough for all my teeth.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 22, 2011
at 10:27 PM

As far as wisdom teeth go, I'm not sure that everyone or most people have them out or not? I had mine pulled because I had worn braces and the ortho told my mom that he was afraid if those teeth came in it would jack everything all up because there wasn't the room for them to come in. Of course after dropping that much money into my mouth my mom wasn't about to let anything like that happen!

776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

(1069)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:54 PM

A possible reason that so many need to ahve their wisdom teeth removed is that pre-natal and early childhood non-Paleo diet may lead to a smaller jaw - thus the need for orthodontics and wisdom teeth removal. Weston Price noted that many of the traditional peoples he encountered well developed jaws and a lot of room for their teeth, whereas today you see many people with crooked teeth because their mouths are too small. I wonder if people eating a traditional or paleo diet needed to have their wisdom teeth removed... it seems like an invasive operation pre-western medicine.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:36 PM

I remember too - I was 8. They had to put a pack in my throat because I bled so much. It was taped to my cheek by a strong. I bit it off in my sleep. It lodged in my throat. I almost needed another surgery!

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:29 PM

lol I don't think you should stop reading them, I'm sure they are valid for "some" cases. I absolutely don't agree with taking things out without having a really good reason for doing so, but sometimes there are good reasons. I had my gall bladder removed about a decade ago also and you know that is one of those organs they like to take out for no reason. Had I known better, I wouldn't have had it removed. They told me it was my fatty diet which caused the attacks I'd been having for the previous 8 years which was interesting since my mom was a big fan of the low fat diet!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:18 PM

Thanks for your point of view on this. I think I'm going to stop reading these kind of studies - if I can keep myself from them! Maybe it's just a bunch of fear mongering?

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Oh, BTW - my wisdom teeth were not impacted, yet everyone was happy to take them out. My tonsils were mildly inflamed, same story. I was a kid and didn't have a choice really. So, that's where my interest in this study comes from. Of course I would save my child's life were either of them to rupture their appendix or something. Thanks again.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:03 PM

Wow. Okay, thanks for your response. I don't have a science background so I am not confident in determining which studies are bad science. I am working on that, though. What part of the study didn't ring true for you?

  • 0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

    asked by

    (16131)
  • Views
    2.6K
  • Last Activity
    1432D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

6
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

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.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:18 PM

Thanks for your point of view on this. I think I'm going to stop reading these kind of studies - if I can keep myself from them! Maybe it's just a bunch of fear mongering?

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:29 PM

lol I don't think you should stop reading them, I'm sure they are valid for "some" cases. I absolutely don't agree with taking things out without having a really good reason for doing so, but sometimes there are good reasons. I had my gall bladder removed about a decade ago also and you know that is one of those organs they like to take out for no reason. Had I known better, I wouldn't have had it removed. They told me it was my fatty diet which caused the attacks I'd been having for the previous 8 years which was interesting since my mom was a big fan of the low fat diet!

3
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

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.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Your answers are always so thoughtful. Thanks. Totally off topic, but you said superfluous tissues and I remembered this: did you know that all those bits and pieces from surgery and biopsies can be used for commercial purposed to come up with new drugs and therapies? Weird.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 23, 2011
at 12:34 AM

omfg. that is weird. where else would they get them, i guess? makes sense, but still........weird. and thank you, meredith. i always think that about your answers. :)

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:44 PM

If I was prone to conspiracy theories(not really, but they do often cross my mind)...That might really bug me lol

3
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

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.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:36 PM

I remember too - I was 8. They had to put a pack in my throat because I bled so much. It was taped to my cheek by a strong. I bit it off in my sleep. It lodged in my throat. I almost needed another surgery!

3
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

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...

776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

(1069)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:54 PM

A possible reason that so many need to ahve their wisdom teeth removed is that pre-natal and early childhood non-Paleo diet may lead to a smaller jaw - thus the need for orthodontics and wisdom teeth removal. Weston Price noted that many of the traditional peoples he encountered well developed jaws and a lot of room for their teeth, whereas today you see many people with crooked teeth because their mouths are too small. I wonder if people eating a traditional or paleo diet needed to have their wisdom teeth removed... it seems like an invasive operation pre-western medicine.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:03 PM

Wow. Okay, thanks for your response. I don't have a science background so I am not confident in determining which studies are bad science. I am working on that, though. What part of the study didn't ring true for you?

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Oh, BTW - my wisdom teeth were not impacted, yet everyone was happy to take them out. My tonsils were mildly inflamed, same story. I was a kid and didn't have a choice really. So, that's where my interest in this study comes from. Of course I would save my child's life were either of them to rupture their appendix or something. Thanks again.

2
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

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.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 22, 2011
at 10:27 PM

As far as wisdom teeth go, I'm not sure that everyone or most people have them out or not? I had mine pulled because I had worn braces and the ortho told my mom that he was afraid if those teeth came in it would jack everything all up because there wasn't the room for them to come in. Of course after dropping that much money into my mouth my mom wasn't about to let anything like that happen!

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on June 23, 2011
at 05:28 PM

I had to have mine (3) removed. 2 of them were growing in sideways.

3f5bbb444498a24f1a9720d75fa7c903

(2369)

on June 23, 2011
at 02:01 AM

I have all my wisdom teeth (and I am 52). At age 30, the dentist I have gone to all my life finally stopped telling me I might have to get them removed one day. They are all completely in and fine. Oddly, my daughter has no wisdom teeth at all, confirmed by x-rays - not even seed teeth.

776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

(1069)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:12 PM

Thanks for posting that link! Reading WAP's book made a big impact on me, but Stephan always explains things so well... there's a money shot in there of an ancient skull with all of its wisdom teeth, straight as an arrow. I only wish that my parents had been Paleo, because unfortunately my jaw was not quite big enough for all my teeth.

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

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.

1
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

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.

0
E76821f1019f5284761bc4c33f2bf044

(383)

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

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!