Adenotonsillectomies: Have You Had Them Taken Out?

Ermintruder

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#1
Your adenoids & tonsils: have you had them removed? I'd be very interested to hear your experiences in terms of the effects, positively, negatively or none, upon your health & general physical being.

(I mean in particular, early in your life...if you've just been 'done' you have my immediate sympathies).

Back in the '60s, I (like many others) had mine scraped/sliced/cauterised out, in what was a horrible, painful & trauma-inducing experience. I have substantially suppressed any remaining memories of the op, but I do remember the ghastly feeling of being actually etherised, that they also managed to knock-out some of my baby teeth, and that I spent days half-drowning in brown blood afterwards.

But I'm tempted to wonder, firstly, why it was such a vogue operation?

If it was intended to reduce the frequency of childhood illnesses, it certainly did no such thing for me. And since these organs are evolved to be a key part of the body's defence/immune mechanism, just what was the idea behind this?

Secondly, what has a half-century of not having any adenoids or tonsils done to me? They seem (to me) to be much-more evident than a spleen or appendix, in that they're nearly in your face (and....kind-of, in your face).

They seem to have evolved to have helped prevent precisely what the were removed to reduce the incidence of.

Whilst the experience hasn't killed me (yet) might I be a different person had they not been pulled out of my neck? Might I be a fitter/leaner/healthier person, had I not been deprived of these....all a long time ago, but I do really wonder.

Opinions, facts, thoughts, ideas- all happily received. And as far as any resultant superpowers, engendered as a result of the "ectomy".....none are obviously-evident to me. Perhaps it's still too soon, post-op, and once I reach 60 I'll be able to bend spoons by staring at them....or box-girder bridges
 
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EnolaGaia

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#2
My younger brother and I had our tonsils and adenoids removed in the local hospital almost 56 years ago. I was 12, and my brother was 8. This was the first surgery for both of us.

Both of us had a long history of nose, throat, sinus and bronchial maladies including tonsillitis. In my case, the tonsils were most often cited as the problem. My brother was often diagnosed with problems tracing to the adenoids as well.

It's important to note that back at that time, the tonsils and adenoids were believed to be non-functional vestigial organs.

As you noted, that was a time when removing the tonsils (and, optionally, the adenoids) was both recommended pediatric practice and something of a routine rite of passage for us Baby Boomers. Although the adenoids were an optional sideshow, almost everyone I knew at the time had both removed "while they were in there."

It was advantageous (logistics; recovery down time; probably financially as well) to simply have both of us done at the same time.

It did seem that the occurrence, severity and duration of our prior maladies decreased after the tonsils and adenoids were removed.
 

EnolaGaia

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#3
A personal addendum ...

I thought I'd related the following additional items years ago, but I can't find any proof of it.

My own tonsillectomy experience was more surreal and intense than normal - in large part because ...

Our joint surgeries were performed on 22 November 1963 (the day of JFK's assassination).

Our surgery was first thing in the morning, but I don't recall the exact scheduled time. We were given our first preliminary anaesthetic injections in our shared hospital room very early, while it was still dark outside. We were both wheeled out to the operating rooms about 15 - 30 minutes later. My brother was awake, alert and chattering away as we were wheeled out. I was already groggy, slurring my speech, and experiencing difficulties with deliberate movements.

In the operating area, I was already functionally inert as an anaesthetic drip was inserted into my arm, the ether(?) mask was placed over my face, and the lights went out ...

My brother awoke in the recovery room within an hour following surgery, and he was wheeled back to our room. I didn't wake up for hours (I wouldn't come to until circa 1900 - 1930 that evening). The staff gave up on my awaking in the recovery room, wheeled me back to our room after 2 or 3 hours, and shoveled me into my bed.

During the circa 10 or 11 hours I was lying back in my bed, it was all darkness except for a disjointed series of bizarro dreams (pink elephants, Dali-esque scenes, that sort of thing).

Our parents and extended family were continuously present from late morning onward, but nobody ever noticed the transient instances when I would partially "surface", recognize my surroundings, and immediately sink back down into the void. Neither did the nurses and doctors who visited to monitor my unusually long "outage" because they were progressively worried as to why I hadn't come around.

I happened to surface just as a nurse burst into the room and loudly said, "Turn on your TV! The president's been shot ... They think he's dead!" I thought it was part of the psychedelic dreaming, and sank away again ...

That evening my eyes finally flickered open. A nurse, my parents, and multiple family members surrounded my bed. They explained how long I'd been out and expressed relief that I'd finally awakened. The nurse stepped out to summon a doctor, he checked me out, and then everyone began asking how I felt and if I remembered anything.

They were surprised when I told them about the day-long dreaming and occasional surfacing (which none of them had noticed). I was describing how weird my dreams had been and mentioned by way of illustration, "I even dreamed the president had been shot."

The adults all paused and looked around at each other, then my mother grimly told me, "He was ... He's dead."

It was a major shock to spend all day crawling my way back to the "Real World", only to find it dramatically overturned upon arrival ...

Two days later I was recuperating on the sofa when I witnessed Ruby shooting Oswald live on TV. (Bear in mind live coverage of dramatic incidents was rare in those days ... )

I was immediately catapulted into a shocked / anxious state, and I began choking. I staggered to the bathroom, thinking I was going to vomit the little solid food I'd finally been able to swallow. It was a substantial gobbet of bright red blood; my stitches had broken. I staggered into my parents' bedroom next to the bathroom and fainted for the first time in my life.

As I was slipping away I admit to wondering whether I was dying.

So, yeah ... My tonsillectomy experience was a bit more of a psychological roller-coaster than I'd signed up for ...
 

Recycled1

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#4
I had mine taken out when I was 7 years old -so that would have been 1954.
It was a truly dreadful experience!

I was in hospital for a week, longer than most kids because I haemorrhaged (sp?).
That in turn meant I had extra wadding down my throat, that had to be painfully removed.
Worst of all, my mother wasn't allowed to visit me at all !!

These days it could be almost considered child abuse!

I was horribly sore for ages after I eventually did get home.

I have no idea whether it benefitted my health, how can anyone tell?
 

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#5
A personal addendum ...

I thought I'd related the following additional items years ago, but I can't find any proof of it.

My own tonsillectomy experience was more surreal and intense than normal - in large part because ...

Our joint surgeries were performed on 22 November 1963 (the day of JFK's assassination).

Our surgery was first thing in the morning, but I don't recall the exact scheduled time. We were given our first preliminary anaesthetic injections in our shared hospital room very early, while it was still dark outside. We were both wheeled out to the operating rooms about 15 - 30 minutes later. My brother was awake, alert and chattering away as we were wheeled out. I was already groggy, slurring my speech, and experiencing difficulties with deliberate movements.

In the operating area, I was already functionally inert as an anaesthetic drip was inserted into my arm, the ether(?) mask was placed over my face, and the lights went out ...

My brother awoke in the recovery room within an hour following surgery, and he was wheeled back to our room. I didn't wake up for hours (I wouldn't come to until circa 1900 - 1930 that evening). The staff gave up on my awaking in the recovery room, wheeled me back to our room after 2 or 3 hours, and shoveled me into my bed.

During the circa 10 or 11 hours I was lying back in my bed, it was all darkness except for a disjointed series of bizarro dreams (pink elephants, Dali-esque scenes, that sort of thing).

Our parents and extended family were continuously present from late morning onward, but nobody ever noticed the transient instances when I would partially "surface", recognize my surroundings, and immediately sink back down into the void. Neither did the nurses and doctors who visited to monitor my unusually long "outage" because they were progressively worried as to why I hadn't come around.

I happened to surface just as a nurse burst into the room and loudly said, "Turn on your TV! The president's been shot ... They think he's dead!" I thought it was part of the psychedelic dreaming, and sank away again ...

That evening my eyes finally flickered open. A nurse, my parents, and multiple family members surrounded my bed. They explained how long I'd been out and expressed relief that I'd finally awakened. The nurse stepped out to summon a doctor, he checked me out, and then everyone began asking how I felt and if I remembered anything.

They were surprised when I told them about the day-long dreaming and occasional surfacing (which none of them had noticed). I was describing how weird my dreams had been and mentioned by way of illustration, "I even dreamed the president had been shot."

The adults all paused and looked around at each other, then my mother grimly told me, "He was ... He's dead."

It was a major shock to spend all day crawling my way back to the "Real World", only to find it dramatically overturned upon arrival ...

Two days later I was recuperating on the sofa when I witnessed Ruby shooting Oswald live on TV. (Bear in mind live coverage of dramatic incidents was rare in those days ... )

I was immediately catapulted into a shocked / anxious state, and I began choking. I staggered to the bathroom, thinking I was going to vomit the little solid food I'd finally been able to swallow. It was a substantial gobbet of bright red blood; my stitches had broken. I staggered into my parents' bedroom next to the bathroom and fainted for the first time in my life.

As I was slipping away I admit to wondering whether I was dying.

So, yeah ... My tonsillectomy experience was a bit more of a psychological roller-coaster than I'd signed up for ...
o_O .. that's one hugely crazy anecdote Enola ..
 

Ermintruder

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#6
Both of us had a long history of nose, throat, sinus and bronchial maladies including tonsillitis. In my case, the tonsils were most often cited as the problem.
I believe this too was the diagnosed situation for me. But I do know that I had many occasions (probably into my 40s) with bad bouts of all these infections.

I accept that the 1960s medics didn't expect to be conferring total ENT invincibility upon me (and there is an irreduceable perspective that maybe if I'd NOT had it done, these infections could've killed me, at worst, in late childhood.....) but I have an unshakable opinion that in my life-case it did not improve my health.

It's important to note that back at that time, the tonsils and adenoids were believed to be non-functional vestigial organs.
But they're not, are they? They evolved (in part) to provide immune responses to much of what they were being blamed for causing.

Our joint surgeries
As a binary instance, did you find that both your health experiences (far past post-op into teenhood) did improve? Or not?

I'm really puzzled regarding the medical/physiological reasoning behind what was done. If it is now almost never done (unless there are other underpinning reasons) what alternative intervention takes its place?

I'm going to presume nothing...since my own children never went through this. Nor did many (any?) of my younger semi-peers & relations. Born 1950s/early 60s? Yep, sliced out. Born late 1960s/70s? Very rarely, if ever, have such peoples' adenoidal accoutrements been 'ectomied'.

Very much of its era....I wonder what we really gained, or lost? I understand that appendectomies are now becoming a bit of a thing of the past, appendixes being treated rather excised. Very odd
 

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#7
My younger brother had his tonsils out in the mid-60s, apparently because he was getting sore throats. I too had sore throats but apparently I was just copying him for attention so no ice cream for me.

appendectomies are now becoming a bit of a thing of the past,
Antibiotics work well on mild appendicitis, IF it can be diagnosed in time. In the past, before antibiotics, there was no alternative but to operate.

I'm currently reading a lovely book about operations and am up to the chapter on appendectomy. Fascinating.

The Russian surgeon Leonid Rogozov did his own appendectomy while on duty in the Arctic. He quickly trained up his colleagues - all non-medical staff - and got on with it. Nerves of steel.

"My poor assistants! At the last minute I looked over at them. They stood there in their surgical whites, whiter than white themselves," Rogozov wrote later. "I was scared too. But when I picked up the needle with the novocaine and gave myself the first injection, somehow I automatically switched into operating mode, and from that point on I didn't notice anything else."
 

EnolaGaia

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#8
o_O .. that's one hugely crazy anecdote Enola ..
If you think that was weird ...

Within 24 hours of Martin Luther King's assassination I came down with my first and only case of appendicitis. It lasted circa 10 days, during which I lost 40 pounds (no joke), there were serious concerns I might not make it, and the appendicitis diagnosis couldn't be confirmed. I was left so weakened it would take another 2 months before they could confirm it was appendicitis and schedule the appendectomy.

I checked into the hospital the evening before the surgery and awoke for prepping to learn Bobby Kennedy had been shot overnight (my time).

I've successfully managed to avoid being hospitalized ever since then (over half a century and counting) - even at the expense of defying doctors' orders. Call it superstition ...
 

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#9
If you think that was weird ...

Within 24 hours of Martin Luther King's assassination I came down with my first and only case of appendicitis. It lasted circa 10 days, during which I lost 40 pounds (no joke), there were serious concerns I might not make it, and the appendicitis diagnosis couldn't be confirmed. I was left so weakened it would take another 2 months before they could confirm it was appendicitis and schedule the appendectomy.

I checked into the hospital the evening before the surgery and awoke for prepping to learn Bobby Kennedy had been shot overnight (my time).

I've successfully managed to avoid being hospitalized ever since then (over half a century and counting) - even at the expense of defying doctors' orders. Call it superstition ...
That's messed up, wtf?. Now please tell me you also broke a toe/got gastroenteritis etc during Challenger, Princess Dianna or 9/11 or something! .. you are clearly related to Mother Shipden (or however her name was spelt)
 

EnolaGaia

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#10
... As a binary instance, did you find that both your health experiences (far past post-op into teenhood) did improve? Or not?
I have to say "Yes", as far as the head / throat / bronchial issues were concerned. I'd been hospitalized for severe bronchitis and sinus issues earlier in childhood.

I'm really puzzled regarding the medical/physiological reasoning behind what was done. If it is now almost never done (unless there are other underpinning reasons) what alternative intervention takes its place?
Given the state of knowledge and available tools at the time, removal was the only practical approach. Think of it as an amputation (another surgery that's nowhere near as justified as it once was).

The decline in major surgical interventions resulted from better - and more precisely targeted - antibiotic regimens and less intrusive surgical interventions if necessary.
 
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#11
I'm another who underwent the adenotonsillectomy procedure. I think I was four years old and it involved several nights' stay in Southport's Promenade Hospital, where I had a scenic view over the Marine Lake. It was my only experience of surgery, until the appendix went at the ripe old age of 31. I have heard of much older cases since.

Ice cream quickly soothed the trauma. Asthma plagued my childhood, so maybe the operation was prescribed for breathing difficulties. I hope it did not trigger them but it did not help.

The operations were conducted on an assembly-line basis, several kids being loaded on a trolley for delivery to the theatre. All a bit Krampus, really! Nearly all the young ones were having the tonsil job. One older, paler lad was in for something more mysterious and did not appear to be thriving.

One weird but vivid memory is of coming out of the anaesthetic in a room with bulbous, wall-mounted tanks. I now presume they were water-heaters for sterilizing stuff but they seemed very sci-fi at the time.

I later learned that the hospital had alarmed my parents by telephoning them with a false report of complications following surgery: my details had been confused with another child's. This tends to confirm the industrial scale of the project to part kids from their throat-flaps.

Two random impressions have stayed with me. One was the gift of a small, green plastic toy-camera, which used a revolving, circular tranparency to give a selection of dismal b & w images of jungle animals, on clicking the lever. I'm guessing it was the cheapest toy in the shop! The other was the way miniature bottles of barley-water and Lucozade accumulated in the bowl intended for fruit. Those were the days when Lucozade seemed something very special to invalids and came in an orange cellophane caul!

Emotionally, the low-point came on the Friday, by which time I was on the road to recovery. My mother was very angry with me for having chosen the minced beef option for my tea. Had I forgotten my religion? It was fish day! :fslap:
 
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#12
I was born in '76 and while I remember a fair few kids at school having time off to have their tonsils and adenoids removed, I remain complete*.

Which is strange as I had no end of ENT problems when I was a kid.

*Except for half a toenail, I've never had anything removed. I've even still got a milk tooth.
 

Bigphoot2

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#13
A personal addendum ...

I thought I'd related the following additional items years ago, but I can't find any proof of it.

My own tonsillectomy experience was more surreal and intense than normal - in large part because ...

Our joint surgeries were performed on 22 November 1963 (the day of JFK's assassination).

Our surgery was first thing in the morning, but I don't recall the exact scheduled time. We were given our first preliminary anaesthetic injections in our shared hospital room very early, while it was still dark outside. We were both wheeled out to the operating rooms about 15 - 30 minutes later. My brother was awake, alert and chattering away as we were wheeled out. I was already groggy, slurring my speech, and experiencing difficulties with deliberate movements.

In the operating area, I was already functionally inert as an anaesthetic drip was inserted into my arm, the ether(?) mask was placed over my face, and the lights went out ...

My brother awoke in the recovery room within an hour following surgery, and he was wheeled back to our room. I didn't wake up for hours (I wouldn't come to until circa 1900 - 1930 that evening). The staff gave up on my awaking in the recovery room, wheeled me back to our room after 2 or 3 hours, and shoveled me into my bed.

During the circa 10 or 11 hours I was lying back in my bed, it was all darkness except for a disjointed series of bizarro dreams (pink elephants, Dali-esque scenes, that sort of thing).

Our parents and extended family were continuously present from late morning onward, but nobody ever noticed the transient instances when I would partially "surface", recognize my surroundings, and immediately sink back down into the void. Neither did the nurses and doctors who visited to monitor my unusually long "outage" because they were progressively worried as to why I hadn't come around.

I happened to surface just as a nurse burst into the room and loudly said, "Turn on your TV! The president's been shot ... They think he's dead!" I thought it was part of the psychedelic dreaming, and sank away again ...

That evening my eyes finally flickered open. A nurse, my parents, and multiple family members surrounded my bed. They explained how long I'd been out and expressed relief that I'd finally awakened. The nurse stepped out to summon a doctor, he checked me out, and then everyone began asking how I felt and if I remembered anything.

They were surprised when I told them about the day-long dreaming and occasional surfacing (which none of them had noticed). I was describing how weird my dreams had been and mentioned by way of illustration, "I even dreamed the president had been shot."

The adults all paused and looked around at each other, then my mother grimly told me, "He was ... He's dead."

It was a major shock to spend all day crawling my way back to the "Real World", only to find it dramatically overturned upon arrival ...

Two days later I was recuperating on the sofa when I witnessed Ruby shooting Oswald live on TV. (Bear in mind live coverage of dramatic incidents was rare in those days ... )

I was immediately catapulted into a shocked / anxious state, and I began choking. I staggered to the bathroom, thinking I was going to vomit the little solid food I'd finally been able to swallow. It was a substantial gobbet of bright red blood; my stitches had broken. I staggered into my parents' bedroom next to the bathroom and fainted for the first time in my life.

As I was slipping away I admit to wondering whether I was dying.

So, yeah ... My tonsillectomy experience was a bit more of a psychological roller-coaster than I'd signed up for ...
On the bright side, you do have a pretty good alibi if you are accused of shooting JFK.
 

EnolaGaia

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#14
That's messed up, wtf?. Now please tell me you also broke a toe/got gastroenteritis etc during Challenger, Princess Dianna or 9/11 or something! .. you are clearly related to Mother Shipden (or however her name was spelt)
No, I'm not descended from Mother Shipton. Anyway, she was a prophetess reputed to foresee things. The events described above and others relating to (e.g.) my parents' deaths and 9/11:

https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/dreams-and-reality-and-9-11.29805/post-713136

... are more of a psychic connection / matrix synchronicity nature. They involve strangely immediate "alerting" at the same time, but at a distance, rather than foretelling future events.

(I do have some scattered foresight / prediction experiences, but they're a distinctly different thing.)
 

EnolaGaia

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#15
... Ice cream quickly soothed the trauma. ...
Did anyone else use or find a cool soft alternative to ice cream? I recall getting tired of the ice cream and looking for an equivalent food. One experiment that turned out well was to deeply chill applesauce in the freezer and eat it slowly, letting the slushy goo slither slowly down my throat.
 

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#16
If you think that was weird ...

Within 24 hours of Martin Luther King's assassination I came down with my first and only case of appendicitis. It lasted circa 10 days, during which I lost 40 pounds (no joke), there were serious concerns I might not make it, and the appendicitis diagnosis couldn't be confirmed. I was left so weakened it would take another 2 months before they could confirm it was appendicitis and schedule the appendectomy.

I checked into the hospital the evening before the surgery and awoke for prepping to learn Bobby Kennedy had been shot overnight (my time).

I've successfully managed to avoid being hospitalized ever since then (over half a century and counting) - even at the expense of defying doctors' orders. Call it superstition ...
Don't get seriously ill again. Somebody might get assassinated.
 

Swifty

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#17
Did anyone else use or find a cool soft alternative to ice cream? I recall getting tired of the ice cream and looking for an equivalent food. One experiment that turned out well was to deeply chill applesauce in the freezer and eat it slowly, letting the slushy goo slither slowly down my throat.
So long as we're not talking about women putting ice lollies in their foo foos again ..
 

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#21
On a similar vein they wanted to put grommets in my youngest sons ear due to recurring ear infections that caused temporary deafness in one ear. Before being told by the men in white coats what their plans were for my little cherub I saw a leading paediatrician on breakfast tv stating that ear grommets had become the vogue operation for kids and were the new tonsillectomy and were often unnecessary. I spoke with my sister in law, a nurse, who further put me off then had a blazing row with the first Mrs T63 who wanted it done.
They subsequently found out the infections were due to an allergy to cows milk, we swapped to Soya and the problem went away. No Grommets.
 

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#22
On a similar vein they wanted to put grommets in my youngest sons ear due to recurring ear infections that caused temporary deafness in one ear. Before being told by the men in white coats what their plans were for my little cherub I saw a leading paediatrician on breakfast tv stating that ear grommets had become the vogue operation for kids and were the new tonsillectomy and were often unnecessary. I spoke with my sister in law, a nurse, who further put me off then had a blazing row with the first Mrs T63 who wanted it done.
They subsequently found out the infections were due to an allergy to cows milk, we swapped to Soya and the problem went away. No Grommets.
AFAIK, grommets could potentially lead to ongoing infections in some people.
 

Frideswide

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#24
still got tonsils and adenoids - I'm the same cohort as @Timble2 and I remember the rest of the class having them done!

I am now lacking sections of Fallopian tube, an appendix, a gall bladder and however much of your knees they take out to do replacements!
 

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#27
Your adenoids & tonsils: have you had them removed? I'd be very interested to hear your experiences in terms of the effects, positively, negatively or none, upon your health & general physical being.

(I mean in particular, early in your life...if you've just been 'done' you have my immediate sympathies).

Back in the '60s, I (like many others) had mine scraped/sliced/cauterised out, in what was a horrible, painful & trauma-inducing experience. I have substantially suppressed any remaining memories of the op, but I do remember the ghastly feeling of being actually etherised, that they also managed to knock-out some of my baby teeth, and that I spent days half-drowning in brown blood afterwards.

But I'm tempted to wonder, firstly, why it was such a vogue operation?

If it was intended to reduce the frequency of childhood illnesses, it certainly did no such thing for me. And since these organs are evolved to be a key part of the body's defence/immune mechanism, just what was the idea behind this?

Secondly, what has a half-century of not having any adenoids or tonsils done to me? They seem (to me) to be much-more evident than a spleen or appendix, in that they're nearly in your face (and....kind-of, in your face).

They seem to have evolved to have helped prevent precisely what the were removed to reduce the incidence of.

Whilst the experience hasn't killed me (yet) might I be a different person had they not been pulled out of my neck? Might I be a fitter/leaner/healthier person, had I not been deprived of these....all a long time ago, but I do really wonder.

Opinions, facts, thoughts, ideas- all happily received. And as far as any resultant superpowers, engendered as a result of the "ectomy".....none are obviously-evident to me. Perhaps it's still too soon, post-op, and once I reach 60 I'll be able to bend spoons by staring at them....or box-girder bridges
Bit later than the 60's but yes and I've suffered from recurrent sore throats since but I guess they were better than the infections I hardly remember.
 

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#28
still got tonsils and adenoids - I'm the same cohort as @Timble2 and I remember the rest of the class having them done!

I am now lacking sections of Fallopian tube, an appendix, a gall bladder and however much of your knees they take out to do replacements!
With all the bits missing from members of this forum we could create a Shelley monster!

(By god what a nightmare that would be).
 

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Under the floorboards...
#30
I was born in '76 and while I remember a fair few kids at school having time off to have their tonsils and adenoids removed, I remain complete*.

Which is strange as I had no end of ENT problems when I was a kid.

*Except for half a toenail, I've never had anything removed. I've even still got a milk tooth.
But it's not one of yours!
 
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