The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Clinical Records

Uvulectomy to prevent throat infections

B. E. J. Hartleya1 c1 and J. Rowe-Jonesa1

a1 Department of Otolaryngology, St George's Hosptal, London SW17 9QT.


It is common practice in many parts of Africa for traditional healers to remove the uvula to prevent infections and other disorders associated with the throat.

We report two cases of children presenting with recurrent tonsillitis. On examination both children showed complete absence of the uvula and prominent tonsils. It was later revealed that they both had undergone uvulectomy, performed by traditional healers in Eritrea. We report this because this practice, although commonly performed, is little known to otolaryngologists practising outside Africa. In addition, although velopharyngeal competence seems to be maintained after uvulectomy, it may theoretically be at risk if adenoidectomy is performed in these patients.

(Accepted August 18 1993)


c1 Dr B. E. J. Hartley, 84 Bramfield Road, Clapham, London SW11 6PY.