Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy
What are they?
Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove the tonsils while Adenoidectomy is an operation that is performed to remove adenoids. These procedures are usually performed on children.
Tonsils are small, round glands that are present on either side of throat. The tonsils are usually present on either side of the pharynx, or the back of the throat.
Adenoids are present where the back of the nose meets the throat. They are usually not visible when viewed the mouth without the use of special instruments. When the adenoids are enlarged they can block the airway and cause sleep-disordered breathing, or sleep apnea & also cause ear infections.
Both tonsils and adenoids could also become a source of ongoing infection.
When surgery is needed?
The doctors usually recommend either of these surgical procedures, Tonsillectomy or Adenoidectomy, when the patients suffer from the following symptoms:
- Obstructed Breathing due to the narrowing of the air passage while sleeping making it difficult for the child to breathe
- Nose blockage resulting in breathing through the mouth and a nasal sounding voice
- Snoring, a sign of obstructive sleep apnoea
- Repeated throat infections or inflammation of the tonsils causing tonsillitis that doesn’t improve even after antibiotic treatment
- Difficulty in eating
- Continuing nasal discharge
- Change in the growth of the upper jaw causing changes in the position of the teeth
- Tonsillar Abscess: an infection that results in a collection of pus behind a tonsil that doesn’t improve with drug treatment or a drainage procedure.
- Short pauses in breathing
- Middle ear infections & deafness
Both Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy are performed under general anesthesia. The procedure usually takes around an hour or less to perform. Both these surgical procedures are performed through the patient’s mouth with no visible stitches except for a small raw patch, like a graze on either side of the throat of the patient.
In both these procedures, the surgeon will cut out the tonsils using a scalpel or a specialized surgical tool that uses high-energy heat or sound waves to destroy the issues.
Full recovery from a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy typically takes about 7 to 10 day.
The patient might experience the following after the procedure:
- A throat pain for a couple of weeks .
- Ear pain for a week in some cases
- White patches over the throat where the tonsils were present. They are harmless and will go after 7 to 10 days.
- Bad breath during the healing period
- Change in voice or taste in some cases but will return to normal after 2 weeks.
During the healing period time, the following measures must be considered:
- It is important to drink lot of fluids, eat soothing and soft foods.
- The patient is recommended to have rest for 7 days after the surgery.
- Strenuous activities like running and bike riding etc. should be avoided for two weeks after surgery.
- The doctor might suggest pain medication to ease any discomfort during the first few days.
Some of the risks involved are:
- Reactions to anesthetics such as headache, nausea, vomiting, or muscle soreness
- Bleeding during surgery immediately afterward, or at home
- Infection increasing pain or fever some times.