Background: The criteria for tonsillectomy for recurrent tonsillitis were established by prospective studies in the pediatric population and are applied to adults as well. No studies have been conducted to assess whether these guidelines are followed.
Objectives: To examine the eligibility for tonsillectomy of tonsillectomized patients who were referred because of recurrent acute tonsillitis.
Methods: A retrospective case series in an ambulatory military otolaryngology clinic was conducted, and the medical records of 44 tonsillectomized patients who suffered from throat infections in the year before surgery were analyzed. The number of tonsillar infections that met the referral criteria was counted.
Results: The average number of throat infections that met the referral criteria was 1.89 per year. The average number of visits to the clinic due to upper respiratory tract infection was 12.92 (range 2–36) per year. The average number of visits for any cause was 45.13 (range 6–64) per year. One patient with eight documented throat infections met the criteria of more than six infections in the last year.
Conclusion: Although the referral criteria were not strictly met, we speculate that surgery was probably beneficial. This study shows that the indications for tonsillectomy referral are not strictly followed, and that new criteria for referral of adults for tonsillectomy need to be established.