Is routine analysis of pediatric tonsillectomy specimens worth the money?

April 30, 2012
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Guest Editorial

Although gross pathologic analysis may seem like a good alternative to examining every specimen microscopically, from the point of view of cost-effectiveness, it is the worst option and is quite unlikely to identify significant pathology.

Each year, more than half a million children in the United States undergo tonsillectomy.1 Most of these procedures are performed for either sleep-disordered breathing or recurrent infections. Despite the frequency with which the procedure is performed, there is little consensus on how the resulting specimens should be handled. Most of the time, the tonsils are sent to a pathologist, who looks for evidence of more serious medical problems, such as unsuspected lymphoma.

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