Clinical Topics — Uvulectomy

Ethiopians believe that if a baby has a uvula and a sore throat develops, the baby will suffocate.1 Uvulectomy is thus performed prophylactically in the first works of life or subsequent to respiratory infection by a traditional healer known as ankar korach or intil korach (tonsil/uvula cutter)1-4 resulting in partial or total removal of the uvula.1,5 In the northern city of Gondar, nearly 99% of those surveyed believed that the uvula initiated airway blockage, and 86% of the 853 children under five years who were examined had undergone uvulectomy.1,6 In Jimma, the regional capital of southwest Ethiopia, 35% of 1563 infants had undergone uvulectomy in their first year of life.7 Implements used for this procedure include scissors, a horse hair, or a sickle-shaped knife.1,8 Complications include tetanus, meningitis, sepsis, and hemorrhage.8-12


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