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July 28, 2017 | Ear, Nose, Throat
The tonsils are two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat, and the removal of these pads is called tonsillectomy. A tonsillectomy is often used to treat sleep-disorders or for tonsillitis that doesn’t respond to other kinds of treatment.
Why might a tonsillectomy be right for you or your child, and what are some things you need to know about it? Let’s take a look.
Normally, healthy tonsils produce white blood cells to fight disease and act as the first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. But the tonsils are also vulnerable to infection and inflammation, especially in children. When this happens, it can signal a condition called tonsillitis.
If tonsillitis is frequent, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to prevent recurring cases. In this instance, “frequent” means:
Your doctor may also recommend a tonsillectomy if a bacterial infection doesn’t improve with treatment, or if drug treatment doesn’t help with an infection that’s collecting pus. It may also be recommended for complications of enlarged tonsils, bleeding of the tonsils or other rare conditions.
Preparing for a tonsillectomy involves three primary areas: Information, instruction and questions. Here are examples of information you’ll be asked to provide:
You may be given the following instructions:
Questions to ask might include:
Tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthesia, so you or your child will not be aware of anything during the procedure itself. The tonsils will be cut out using a blade or a specialized surgical tool.
Pain is common after tonsillectomy, mostly in the throat and often in the ears, but also sometimes in the jaw or neck. Tactics you can try to reduce pain and prevent complications during recovery include:
There are a few risks that come with tonsillectomy:
If you notice bright red blood, a fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, severe dehydration or breathing problems, seek immediate medical care for yourself or your child.
If you have other questions about tonsillectomy, your doctor can offer recommendations.
“Tonsillectomy.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tonsillectomy/basics/definition/prc-20019889
“Tonsillectomy.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tonsillectomy-for-strep-throat
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.