Were do I even begin on this one? There is no doubt that far too many surgeries done in today’s day and age are done without using appropriate conservative methods first. Far more are done without thought to the long term ramifications produced by the removal or alteration of our bodies.
The examples are endless. Overuse of orthopedic surgeries when conservative management such as chiropractic care are well documented to drastically lower the need for surgery. Surgery to remove the gallbladder has been shown to be largely unnecessary in upwards of 70% of cases. Long term outcomes of back surgery may be no better than conservative care. Removal of the gallbladder increases the risk of chronic diarrhea, colorectal cancer and fat soluble vitamin deficiencies.
And this study? Removal of the tonsils and / or removal of the appendix before the age of 20 leads to an increased risk of total mortality, cardiovascular death. And these events were occuring very young–up to 43 years of age.
While the risk increase in relative percentage was large, the absolute risk was not that great because the risk of these events in this younger population overall is low, it is still an increased risk for surgical procedures that have other alternatives.
For the tonsillectomies, the restoration of healthy bacteria in the back of the throat using probiotics, the avoidance of antibiotics, gargling during flare ups with salt water and avoidance of foods known to thicken up the mucous in the throat (such as dairy) can go a long way towards making sure infections do not recur.
Appendicitis does carry a rather heavy risk of death if it ruptures, so this is not the time to think non-surgical. However, long before an acute episode there is disruption of the normal flora in the gut through stress, antibiotic use and a typical Western diet low in soluble and insoluble fiber. With these approaches, the risk of appendicitis will be lower.
Overall, though, this again suggests that alterations in both the way our immune system works (both organs play a role in immune function) as well as the balance of good bacteria in our bodies (both surgeries were likely preceded and followed up by antibiotic use) play a role in inflammation and our subsequent risk of chronic disease.
Bottom line, especially for our children, is to avoid these procedures at all costs and make sure that they have been exposed to healthy bacteria to help them reduce their risk of infections in the first place.