What is Tonsillectomy (Tonsils removal)?
A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils. Tonsils are 2 small glands located in the back of your throat.
What could go wrong with the tonsils and adenoids?
There are two problems that could be associated with the tonsils and adenoids:
- Large tonsils and adenoids could block off the air and food passage behind the nose and throat. This usually exhibits itself in children and could cause persistent obstruction of the nose and persistent breathing though the mouth. The most important problem with the blockage occurs at the night time when the patient wind passage could block off completely for few seconds. This is never serious at the time it occurs but could cause significant problems if persistent for few months or years without treatment, mainly by affecting the heart and the lungs.
- Recurrent infections of the tonsils: the surface of the tonsils contains many small pockets that tend to accumulate dead skin and food debris. These pockets are very good areas for the bacterial growth. Bacteria will then gain access to the tonsils themselves and cause an infection.
Doctors often perform adenoid removals and tonsillectomies (removal of the tonsils) together, as chronic throat and respiratory infections often cause infection and inflammation in both glands.
What can Tonsillectomy treat?
Tonsillectomy can treat:
- Strep throat
- Breathing problems as a result of swollen tonsils
- Sleep apnea
- Bleeding of the tonsils
- Frequent and loud snoring
- Cancer of the tonsils
Would I miss tonsils?
When lymph nodes are removed, the body will usually compensate and regenerate to cope with the loss. Although some people have raised theoretical concerns about the removal of tonsils, there have been many studies to look at any ill effects of removal of the tonsils and there is no reason to believe that the surgery that has performed routinely for the last few hundred years is harmful for the human body.
What should I except from surgery?
The surgical procedure will usually take 30 minutes. It is usually done under general anaesthesia. After surgery the patient will experience pain and discomfort which is usually relieved with pain medication.
Patients may also have some temperature for about a week after surgery. The main issue in the care of the tonsillectomy patient is maintenance of adequate fluid intake especially in children. As long as hydration is maintained there are no other significant issues to be concerned about. Infection after surgery does not occur. Bleeding occurs very infrequently after surgery, usually after one week of the procedure when the temporary scab that had formed is replaced with a permanent one. Therefore, it is important not to eat any hard foods especially between the seventh and the tenth day after surgery. If the bleeding occurs after surgery, it is easily taken care of by the doctor who should be contacted.
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