The surgical removal of tonsils and adenoids, a common procedure in children, has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory infectious diseases, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a new study reports.

The study, “Association of Long-Term Risk of Respiratory, Allergic, and Infectious Diseases With Removal of Adenoids and Tonsils in Childhood,” was published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Tonsillectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils, is one of the most common childhood surgeries. More than 530,000 tonsillectomies are performed in children and adolescents in the United States every year, according to recent literature.

Prescribed as a treatment for painful and recurring tonsillitis — inflammation of the tonsils along with middle ear infection — the surgery is often accompanied by the removal of the adenoids, which are small lumps of tissue at the back of the nose.