Utah pediatrician for tonsils

Why Do Kids Gain Weight after Tonsil Removal? Should You Worry?

Kids can gain weight after they have their tonsils out. Parents have noticed that for years. But it is something to worry about if your child is already overweight?

Weight gain in children after they have their tonsils removed (adenotonsillectomy) occurs primarily in children who are smaller and younger at the time of the surgery, and weight gain was not linked with increased rates of obesity.

About 500,000 children in the United States have their tonsils removed each year. The childhood obesity rate prompted reevaluation of the question of weight gain after adenotonsillectomy.

The authors reviewed medical records and the final study consisted of 815 patients (ages 18 years and younger) who underwent adenotonsillectomy from 2007 through October 2012.

The greatest increases in weight were seen in children who were smaller (in the 1 st through 60 th percentiles for weight) and who were younger than 4 years at the time of surgery. Children older than 8 years gained the least weight. An increase in weight was not seen in children who were heavier (above the 80 th percentile in weight) before surgery. At 18 months after surgery, weight percentiles in the study population increased by an average of 6.3 percentile points. Body mass index percentiles increased by an average 8 percentile points. Smaller children had larger increases in BMI percentile but larger children did not.

“Despite the finding that many children gain weight and have higher BMIs after tonsillectomy, in our study, the proportion of children who were obese (BMI >95 th percentile) before surgery (14.5 percent) remained statistically unchanged after surgery (16.3 percent). On the basis of this work, adenotonsillectomy does not correlate with increased rates of childhood obesity.”

So kids may gain weight after removal of their tonsils, but it is usually the kids who need to pack on a few pounds anyway. It usually won’t make extra-large children even bigger.

Source: JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. “Weight gain in children occurs after tonsil removal, not linked to obesity.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 17 Apr. 2014.