Tonsillectomy in children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) does not increase the risk of obesity in adulthood, according to researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center.

OSA affects 6% of children and is associated with behavioral and learning difficulties. Tonsil surgery is the primary treatment for OSA. However, the medical literature and affected families have raised concerns about post-surgery weight gain and risk for obesity.

A new study by Aviv Goldbart, MD; Ariel Tarasiuk, PhD; and Ran Abuhasira, MD, PhD, at the faculty of health sciences at Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center investigated the effects of childhood tonsillectomy on body weight in adulthood.

Their research, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, discovered in 132 children that tonsillectomy (vs 127 who chose not to perform surgery) did not increase the risk of obesity in adulthood. This long-term study followed children who underwent a sleep study at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Unit of Soroka University Medical Center in 1998, utilizing the databases of Clalit Health Services.

This study supports tonsillectomy as the primary treatment for OSA, emphasizing its health benefits and the lack of association with increased obesity risk in adulthood.

Additional researchers included Adi Shiloh and Jacov Even-Tsur.

The Israel Science Foundation supported this study.

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