Tonsils and adenoids are small structures important to the body’s immune system, particularly in children. However, sometimes, children and adults can experience tonsil and adenoid problems and require treatment from an ENT doctor. The most common procedure done to treat tonsil problems is called a tonsillectomy. The most common procedure done to treat adenoid problems is called adenoidectomy.
Learn more about tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy below.
Small Glands, Big Problems
Everyone has adenoids and tonsils. Each plays a significant role in the developing immune systems of children and teens. Both structures keep bacteria and viruses from invading the ears, nose, and throat. As you mature into adulthood, your body needs these protective organs far less, and so, both tonsils and adenoids typically shrink significantly as you age.
Strangely enough, tonsils and adenoids are themselves subject to infection. Have you ever had tonsillitis or strep throat? If so, you know the discomfort these common childhood illnesses cause. Infections of the adenoids (at the back of the nose and above the eustachian tubes in the throat) may lead to otitis media (ear infection), allergies, and sinusitis (sinus infection). Even hearing loss may develop suddenly or over time because of these illnesses.
Interestingly, most adults have few to no infections related to their tonsils or adenoids. However, if these structures become enlarged due to childhood illnesses, or the organs are just naturally large in size, they may contribute to a sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, as well as repeated cases of ear and sinus infections, tonsillitis, allergies, and strep throat.
In such situations, procedures like tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are performed to reduce or eliminate symptoms. During a tonsillectomy, both tonsils are surgically removed from the back of the throat. During an adenoidectomy, the adenoids located in the top part of the throat, behind the nose, are surgically removed.
Tonsils, Adenoids, And Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in 25 percent of men and 10 percent of women in the United States. Not only does sleep apnea produce snoring and actual breathing cessation (apnea), it also impacts the person’s well-being, by causing symptoms such as:
- Mental fogginess
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- Memory loss
Many people with sleep apnea also develop diabetes, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, and other serious health issues.
While many cases of sleep apnea respond well to oral appliance therapy or CPAP machines (continuous positive airway pressure), some individuals need their tonsils and/or adenoids surgically removed. The surgery creates a free passage of air as you sleep.
What Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Involve
At Georgetown ENT, Dr. Scott Franklin is dual-certified in sleep medicine and otolaryngology. So, he can evaluate the problem you or your child have related to the tonsils or adenoids. After an in-office evaluation, if a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy procedure is warranted the surgery will be done on an out-patient basis with general anesthesia.
The surgeries are relatively brief and take less than an hour to complete. Most patients return home the same day of the procedure. Recovery takes about ten days to two weeks, during which time plenty of fluids and a soft food diet will provide comfort and all-important hydration. Call Dr. Scott Franklin if excessive bleeding and fever occur after adenoidectomy or tonsillectomy.
Learn More From The Otolaryngology Team in Georgetown, TX
If infection or sleep problems plague you or a loved one, please consult your tonsillectomy surgeon at Georgetown ENT. Dr. Franklin will review your symptoms, do a comprehensive evaluation, and work up a treatment plan to address your needs.
If tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy is in your future, expect compassionate care and state-of-the-art technology from our professional team. Call today for an appointment at (512) 869-0604, or use our online appointment request form.