pediatric housecalls Robert R. Jarrett M.D. M.B.A. FAAP

Tonsillectomy – Relation to Speech

[A mother wonders if a child’s speech problem could be caused by enlarged tonsils.]

Is tonsillectomy warranted if tonsils are part of a structural deficit, moderate to severely, effecting speech as tested by a speech pathologist… Elizabeth

Thanks for visiting the website… I’ve re-reviewed clinical guidelines for tonsillectomy to see if they have gotten any more simple over the past 3 years and unfortunately they have NOT.

Indications for tonsillectomy as a treatment for any speech disorder is VERY rare indeed. That being said, I realize you were trying to streamline your question, but the clinical information and indications you gave weren’t adequate for me to proffer an opinion on the necessity of tonsillectomy.

Additionally, at least some of the evaluation is direct examination of the throat, neck, chest and ears of the patient.

It is clear, however, that the risk of morbidity (worsening physical illness) and Mortality (death) of a child who is subjected to such an invasive procedure is substantially greater than most people realize. Even physicians who make their money on performing such procedures are backing up and revising their guidelines UPward (performing LESS tonsillectomies).

There is very little clinical literature which show clear evidence of improvement in any speech pathology due to the removal of tonsils.

It would probably be wise to consult a board certified Pediatrician before making a decision of this significance for your child.

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