Tonsillectomy / Adenoidectomy

Tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies are common and safe procedures. As a matter of fact, tonsillectomy is the second most common pediatric surgical procedure.  It is also necessary at times for this procedure to be performed on adults. A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can help prevent frequent sore throats and ear infections. It is also done for paediatric sleep disordered breathing .  These procedures are not always performed at the same time. Only one may be needed, sometimes both.

The tonsils are glands located in the back of the mouth on both sides of your throat. As part of the immune system, tonsils help fight infections. The adenoids are located behind the soft palate, the back, muscular section of the roof of your mouth. Adenoids also help fight infections. Behind the uvula, there is a passageway that connects the nose to the mouth. And in this passageway, the eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the nose. These tubes prevent large differences in pressure inside the ear. When your adenoids swell, they become inflamed and can cause blockage of the eustachian tubes. Blockage can cause your middle ear to become filled with fluid or pus, causing additional infection and hearing loss.

Tonsillectomy is generally performed because of repeat occurrences of tonsillitis or airway obstruction in children. Tonsillitis is an infection in the throat that starts with your tonsils. These types of sore throats are usually severe and fever can occur. It hurts to swallow! If it occurs frequently it is important to get a throat swab to assess whether or not antibiotics are needed. If this is occurring often surgery may be recommended.

If left untreated, tonsillitis proceed to peritonsillary absess and infection cans spread to other areas  of the body resulting in more sever illness.

 A tonsillectomy is a surgery in which the tonsils are removed. Adenoidectomy is the removal of the adenoids. The combined operation is called a T&A. Generally these surgical procedures are performed if antibiotics are unresponsive. These surgical procedures will help you reduce the number of throat infection and open up the airway to improve night time breathing.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy is performed under general anesthesia. Patients who had surgery for breathing issues will be admitted overnight while others will be able to go home a few hours later. Surgery is usually well tolerated although with a tonsillectomy the throat is sore  for the first 5-10 days after surgery. Watch for bleeding. You will initially find it easiest to swallow liquids and soft foods foods. Pain medication will be given as needed.