Tonsils & Adenoids Removal
What are Tonsils?
The tonsils are two oval-shaped pads located in the back of the throat on each side. The tonsils are part of the lymphatic system, which helps to fight infections. However, removal of the tonsils does not seem to increase susceptibility to infection.
Tonsil Removal Symptoms
- Painful or difficult swallowing.
- Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes, or glands, in the neck.
- A white or yellow coating on the tonsils.
- Severe or a recurring sore throat.
What is Tonsillectomy?
A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils. Tonsillectomy procedure is much more common for children than for adults. The surgery is most often an outpatient procedure and uses a general anesthetic for children. Adults may require only a local anesthetic to numb the area.
When is a Tonsillectomy Needed?
Tonsil removal or tonsillectomy is needed when an individual has recurring episodes of tonsillitis or an infection that has not improved with other treatments. In some cases, it may be performed if enlarged tonsils block normal breathing. This can lead to problems such as sleep apnea and difficulty eating. Occasionally, a tonsillectomy may be performed to treat cancer.
How should I prepare for a Tonsillectomy?
Patients may need to follow various instructions before undergoing a tonsillectomy. This can depend on their general health, medical history, and current medications. Patients will discuss the following with their doctor at their consultation:
- Personal and family history related to anesthesia reactions
- Personal and family history of bleeding disorders
- Known allergies or reactions to medications
- All medications and supplements that are taken regularly
- Patients may need to do the following to prepare for surgery:
- Plan for 10 to 14 days off work or school
- Make arrangements for transportation to the surgery center or hospital
- Avoid certain medications, including aspirin, for two weeks before surgery
- No food after midnight before the surgery date
How long does a Tonsillectomy procedure take?
A tonsillectomy can take 20 to 45 minutes. After surgery, the patient stays in a monitored recovery area for 2 to 4 hours.
How is a Tonsillectomy procedure performed?
The tonsillectomy procedure can be performed in various ways. The doctor may remove the tonsils using a surgical scalpel or using ultrasonic vibration (sound waves). Sometimes, cauterization is performed to remove tissue and seal blood vessels.
Regardless of the technique selected, patients are asleep under general anesthesia for their tonsillectomy procedure. They are not aware of the procedure being done and do not feel any pain. Patients wake up in the recovery room, where they are greeted by surgical staff who have been monitoring their vital signs.
Does your voice change after tonsillectomy?
Some patients experience a minor change in voice that may last a few weeks to a few months after their surgery. Studies indicate that, though the tonsils have nothing to do with the vocal cords, the removal of large pieces of tissue from the throat can have a minor effect on acoustics, how sound waves “bounce” off of the walls of the throat. Even for those who make a living using their voice, tonsillectomy is considered a safe and effective procedure.
What is the recovery process like after a Tonsillectomy?
Patients can expect some discomfort after surgery. This usually feels like a sore throat but may also include some degree of pain in the jaw, ears, or neck. Due to general anesthesia, patients may feel groggy or nauseous during the first 24 hours of recovery. It is important to get lots of rest for a few days and to drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is important during recovery. Because the throat is sensitive, patients often consume warm soup, applesauce, tea, pudding, ice cream and popsicles, and other soft foods for a few days. Crunchy, hard, and spicy foods should be avoided.
Pain is managed with prescription medication that should be taken as directed. Do not wait for the pain to occur before taking the prescribed medicine. It is common for patients to snore for a few weeks after their procedure. Once the throat has healed, this should resolve.
What Are Adenoids?
Adenoids are small lumps of tissue in the back of the throat that help fight ear, nose, and throat infections. It is a mass of lymphatic tissue situated posterior to the nasal cavity, where the nose blends into the throat.
What is Adenoidectomy?
An adenoidectomy is the surgical removal of the adenoid glands. Adenoidectomies are commonly performed in children. The adenoids usually shrink by adolescence, so adults rarely undergo the procedure.
Why Are Adenoids Removed?
Adenoid removal may be needed if the adenoids become infected and swell up, blocking the nose and making it difficult to breathe. Swollen adenoids may also result in sleep apnea, chronic snoring, ear infections, and difficulty swallowing.
Swollen adenoids are often associated with tonsillitis and may be removed as part of an operation to remove the tonsils. This procedure is called an adenotonsillectomy.
How long does it take to recover from getting your adenoids removed?
The adenoidectomy procedure is similar to a tonsillectomy in that small pieces of tissue are removed from the throat area. The adenoids are located above the roof of the mouth. After their removal, patients may have a sore throat or ear pain that can be managed with prescription medication. This should be taken as directed. The sore throat is expected to gradually improve over 7 to 10 days. Until that time, patients may want to eat soft foods and lukewarm liquids.
After adenoidectomy, patients may feel scabs at the back of the mouth. This is an indication of healing. Scabs should fall off within 10 days. Until they do, the patient may experience bad breath. Talk with your doctor about ways to manage this temporary side effect.
What happens if adenoids are not removed?
Enlarged adenoids are associated with ear and nasal problems. When the adenoids are enlarged, they may be prone to infection that affects the sinuses (chronic sinusitis). Enlarged adenoids can also block the eustachian tubes in the ear, resulting in recurrent ear infections.
How long does an Adenotonsillectomy procedure take?
Adenotonsillectomy is often performed as an outpatient procedure. It can take from 30 minutes to an hour, after which the patient may spend a few hours in the recovery room where they can be observed by medical staff. Patients are released once they regain an adequate degree of alertness after receiving anesthesia.
How is an Adenotonsillectomy procedure performed?
Adenoid and tonsil removal is performed as an outpatient procedure in most cases. After being taken into the operating room, the patient is given general anesthesia. This will sedate them for the entire procedure. The patient is unaware of their surgery and does not feel pain while the doctor uses small surgical instruments to excise the pieces of tissue. The procedure is performed through the mouth. There are no incisions made where scars will be visible. The surgery lasts 30 to 45 minutes, after which the patient is moved to the recovery area where they are observed for a few hours.
What is the recovery process like after an Adenotonsillectomy?
Having the tonsils and adenoids taken out at the same time is similar to single procedures in terms of recovery. A sore throat is the most common effect of surgery. Ear or neck pain may also occur. Comfort is managed with prescription pain medication and a diet of soft foods. Patients are typically ready to return to normal activities in one to two weeks.
After undergoing a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, or adenotonsillectomy, it is important to avoid contact with people who are sick. Even a common cold can increase the risk of infection for a person who has undergone these procedures.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are having difficulty swallowing or breathing, Contact our office at 972.984.1050 to schedule a consultation with one of our providers. Our practice serves McKinney, Allen, Plano, and surrounding areas in Texas.