Operations on the tonsils and adenoids are among the most commonly performed of all operations but present a wide range of problems when attempts are made to evaluate the results. This article reviews the findings of the major evaluative studies and discusses the general difficulties that confront them, particularly those that arise from failure to take into account the extensive web of social factors that precipitate a child towards operation and colour interpretation of symptomatology. It suggests that, while variations in operation rate persist on a geographic basis, variations according to social class have almost disappeared.
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