There is a new set of tonsillectomy guidelines put out by the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery. For kids with sore throats or strep throat, the guidelines suggest 7 or more in a single year indicates the need for tonsillectomy. Here's a CNN article related to this.
Hopefully, these will remain guidelines and not be misused as strict rules. I'd hate to see a kid who has had 6 infections causing 24 days of missed school not get treated until they've had one more. Unfortunately, sometimes these guidelines are used by insurance companies or government agencies to dictate a cookbook style of medicine. I still believe each patient presents a unique set of problems and circumstances that needs to be considered. Each family presents different things to consider. What about a parent who has to leave their job frequently to pick up and care for their sick child? What impact would losing their job have on their family and the child's health? Should these factors be considered? These are the problems with guidelines; they can and often are misused and abused. I hope I can continue to practice medicine in a highly personalized manner; putting the individual patient and their family first is my job as their healthcare advocate.