Tonsils sit at the back of your throat and form part of the lymphatic system and are similar to lymph nodes in the rest of your body. Tonsils and adenoids are quite susceptible to inflammation and infection — especially in children, who have less tolerant immune systems. The resulting tonsillitis might include symptoms ranging from fever and sore throat, to bad breath, drooling, or trouble swallowing. Particularly in children, enlarged tonsils may also contribute to snoring, gasping, or pauses in breathing which can disrupt sleep.
Typical treatment of tonsillitis includes antibiotics along with fluid replacement and pain control. In cases of recurring tonsillitis, however, a tonsillectomy — surgical removal of the tonsils — may be best.
Learn about the treatment, including who might need a tonsillectomy, what the procedure involves, potential complications, and the first steps to getting help.
Do I need a tonsillectomy?
Everyone’s body is different, so it’s important to be evaluated by your ear, nose, and throat doctor to determine whether your symptoms or condition is best treated by removal of your tonsils.
Your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy in circumstances such as the following:
- Chronically enlarged tonsils or adenoids that cause sleep disruption or cause difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Recurrent tonsil infections
- Severe infections including peritonsillar abscess
- Painful, recurrent tonsil stones
- Cancerous tissue within the tonsils
What happens in a tonsillectomy?
Tonsillectomy is usually a brief outpatient procedure and typically requires 1-2 weeks for full recovery. Usually a post-operative overnight stay is needed only in the case of severe complications, medical issues, or especially young patients.
After the procedure, it’s important to control pain, drink plenty of fluids, and go easy on the activities for a while — typically two weeks or more, depending on your doctor’s advice. It is also important to eat a soft diet for two weeks following surgery.
Are there any complications?
Tonsillectomies are generally considered safe, but any procedure can have risks. The most common complications for which patients might seek emergency or outpatient post-operative care are bleeding, pain, nausea and vomiting, or dehydration. Your physician will discuss potential risks or complications before performing any procedure.
If you or your child is experiencing potential symptoms of tonsillitis or tonsillar enlargement or you want to learn more about the condition and potential treatments, contact the experts at Mountain Home ENT & Allergy today for information or an appointment.