OBJECTIVES: Recent literature has suggested that histopathologic analysis of routine tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A) specimens may be unnecessary. This study investigates T&A specimen handling practices in the United States between 1989 and 1999. METHODS: Surveys were sent to 4715 members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Surveys assessed practice type, pathologic processing practices (full, gross, no pathology), and reasons for change. The authors also performed a retrospective analysis of 1583 pediatric T&A specimens for evidence of occult malignancy. RESULTS: Practice types were 80% private, 12% academic, 6% salaried, and 2% military. Chi squared analysis revealed a significant increase (P < 0.001) in respondents ordering "gross only" and "no pathology." The retrospective analysis found no occult malignancies. CONCLUSIONS: There is a statistically significant increase in the number of otolaryngologists sending routine T&A specimens for "gross only" and "no pathology." There was no correlation between the type of practice and changes in pathologic analysis performed.
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