A systematic review of adenotonsillectomy as a risk factor for childhood obesity

Anita Jeyakumar, Nicholas Fettman, Eric S. Armbrecht, Ron Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective. Tonsillectomy is the most common major surgical procedure performed in children. There is evidence that tonsillectomy is associated with weight increase and may contribute to pediatric obesity. The study aimed to review the evidence that tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy is a risk factor for future obesity. Data Sources. Systematic literature search was performed using PubMed and Ovid. Review Methods. Systematic analysis of the literature from 1970 to 2009 on patients who underwent adenotonsillectomy (T&A) with preoperative and postoperative weight-based measurements. Results. Nine studies satisfied inclusion criteria. A total of 795 children were included. Preoperative weight ranged from normal to morbid obesity. In total, 656 children had demographic information recorded, and 53.35% of the children were male. Indication for surgery was not recorded in 336 patients. In 47.7% patients, the indication recorded was sleep-disordered breathing. The first group included 3 studies involving 127 children, and body mass index (BMI) increased by 5.5% to 8.2%. The second group included 3 studies involving 419 patients; the standardized weight scores increased in 46% to 100% of patients. The third group included 3 studies with 249 patients; the corrected weight increased postoperatively in 50% to 75% of patients. Morbidly obese patients (weight 130%-260% vs peers) remained unchanged postoperatively. Limitations. Each study was designed with different definitions of overweight and a range of follow-up periods. Demographic information was limited. Conclusions. A large population of normal and overweight children undergoing T&A gained a greater than expected amount of weight postoperatively, which suggests an association between T&A and weight gain. A significant need exists for a large study with consistent outcomes measured.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011


  • Adenotonsillectomy
  • Pediatric obesity
  • Sleep-disordered breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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