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Fight Otitis Media Without Surgery

Otitis media is an infection or inflammation of the middle ear, and it's fairly common -- affecting thousands of children 6-36 months of age. In fact, it's estimated that one-third of the child population will experience six or more episodes of otitis media before starting school, and some will endure as many as 12 episodes in a given year.

Adenoidectomy and adenotonsillectomy (removal of the adenoids and/or the tonsils) are the most common major surgical procedures performed on children in the United States, and the rationale behind them is often to relieve the pain and discomfort of recurrent otitis media. However, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that these surgeries were ineffective in resolving otitis media or preventing its recurrence.

Specifically, the authors noted that "the effectiveness of surgery... was modest and limited mainly to the first follow-up year." The authors also pointed out that complications and/or side effects associated with surgery did occur, especially in children undergoing adenotonsillectomy (14.6% of patients suffering complications). And their conclusion says it all: "...neither operation should be considered a first surgical intervention in chidlren whose only indication is recurrent acute otitis media."

For more information on nonsurgical alternatives for resolving otitis media, contact your doctor of chiropractic. And for online information on chiropractic care of otitis media, go to


Paradise JL, Bluestone CD, Colborn DK, et al. Adenoidectomy and adenotonsillectomy for recurrent acute otitis media. Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 8, 1999: Vol. 282, No. 10, pp945-53.