Ear, nose and throat surgery for children and young people

Tonsillectomy (surgery to remove the tonsils) and myringotomy (surgery to treat middle ear disease) are common surgeries in children. This chapter of the Fourth Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation examines these surgeries in people aged 17 years and under.

Tonsillectomy is used to treat recurrent throat infections that affect the tonsils (tonsillitis) and obstructive sleep apnoea. It is not clear if children with these conditions always benefit from surgery, or whether they would get better without surgery. More information about outcomes is needed to support evidence-based care for these children.

Myringotomy is used to treat middle ear infection, which is the key cause of hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. But not all children who need myringotomy receive it. A comprehensive approach is urgently needed to reduce rates of middle ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Each page includes a summary of findings and recommendations, interactive maps and graphs, and downloadable data.