The oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal microbial flora of 40 children with chronically hypertrophied and infected tonsils or adenoids, was studied. Twenty of the children were treated by tonsillectomy and 20 by adenoidectomy. Swabs were taken from the surgical field pre-operatively and from the oropharynx or the nasopharynx 10 and 30 days post-operatively. The swabs were cultured on suitable culture media and identification as well as quantitative estimation of the isolated bacteria, was carried out. Most of the potentially pathogenic bacteria exhibited β-lactamase production.
Interestingly, after surgical treatment, the respective microorganisms were quantitatively reduced and it was observed that their isolation rate was also lower. Furthermore, bacteria considered as normal inhabitants regularly showed an increase in their frequency of isolation despite the fact that a quantitative decrease was in some instances observed. These findings suggest that tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy result in an alteration to the abnormal oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal microbial flora producing an almost normal one. It appears that, in cases of the failure of antimicrobial treatment, surgical procedures should be seriously considered.