Objective To investigate weight gain and any increased risk of obesity in children who have undergone tonsillectomy.
Design Retrospective chart review.
Setting Tertiary care pediatric hospital.
Patients The study included 200 children aged 2 to 12 years who were undergoing tonsillectomy and 200 age- and sex-matched controls. All children had a preoperative body mass index (BMI) and a postoperative BMI recorded 6 to 18 months after surgery.
Main Outcome Measures The BMI percentile (BMI%) for age was analyzed between and within groups. A Wilcoxon matched-pairs test was used to analyze BMI% before and after tonsillectomy. A Mann-Whitney test was used to compare BMI% between the study and the control groups. An odds ratio (OR) was used to compare overweight (≥85%) and obese (≥95%) patients before and after surgery. A correlation analysis was used to examine the relationship between age and weight gain.
Results The BMI% did not differ significantly between the study and the control groups before surgery (P = .14). The BMI% in the study group increased significantly after tonsillectomy (P < .001). Although older children had a higher BMI% than matched controls before surgery, they had a smaller change in BMI% than younger children after tonsillectomy (P = .004). The odds of a child being overweight (OR, 1.23; P = .36) or obese (OR, 1.44; P = .12) were not significantly different before or after tonsillectomy.
Conclusion Children, particularly younger ones, gained weight after tonsillectomy, but the odds of a child being overweight or obese after tonsillectomy were no different than they were before surgery.