3 years ago

Is securing normal dentofacial development an indication for tonsil surgery in children? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Saara Markkanen, Markus Rautiainen, Pekka Niemi, Mika Helminen, Timo Peltomäki


Tonsil surgeries are common operations in the field of paediatric otorhinolaryngology. Often, the indication for these operations is hypertrophied tonsils. Paediatric sleep-disordered breathing and mouth-breathing are conventional situations caused by the hypertrophied tonsils. Both of these are further associated with dentofacial development alterations. Securing normal dentofacial development, or restoring it, is often used as an indication for tonsil surgery. In this review and meta-analysis, we assessed the contemporary literature to clarify whether tonsil surgery has an effect on dentofacial development in children.


Studies with children aged 3 to 10 years who underwent tonsil surgery and were compared to non-operated controls using dentofacial parameters were included to the review. Search strategies were planned for specific databases. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale was used to assess the risk of bias. A meta-analysis was performed when the data was methodologically homogenous enough to be pooled.


The inclusion criteria for the review were fulfilled in 8 studies. The overall quality of the individual studies was judged to be moderate at best. The data were methodologically homogenous enough to be pooled for the meta-analysis in only 2 studies. The results of the meta-analysis revealed that tonsil surgery has a positive effect on the growth direction of the mandible (p<0.001).


There is modest evidence that suggests that tonsil surgery has a positive effect on the dentofacial development in children with hypertrophied tonsils. Securing normal dentofacial development should be one component, but not the only one, when the indications for tonsil surgery in children are considered.

Publisher URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016558762030149X

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2020.110006

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