Your tonsils are like guardians that keep infections at bay, but sometimes, they grow too big and start causing trouble. People with oversized tonsils can struggle to breathe properly while sleeping. These tonsils can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to persistent sore throats.That’s where tonsillectomy comes in.
What Is Tonsillectomy?
Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove tonsils. Your healthcare provider may recommend it if you experience any of the following:
- You have frequent infections.
- You miss many school or work days.
- You have trouble breathing at night because your tonsils block your airway.
- You have an abscess or pus on the tonsils.
- You get bothersome tonsil stones frequently.
What Are Tonsils?
Your tonsils are a pair of small glands nestled at the back of your throat. They combat infections, especially during childhood. The three types of tonsils include:
- Pharyngeal tonsils near where your nose meets your throat, which make it hard to breathe when they get too big
- Palatine tonsils near the opening of your mouth into your throat
- Lingual tonsils on the back of your tongue and close to the opening of your mouth into your throat
Tonsillitis is a common condition of the tonsils, resulting from inflammation caused by bacteria or viruses. Most cases are caused by an underlying infection, though tonsils may still enlarge without infections.
Preparing For Tonsillectomy
Before your tonsillectomy, you will receive specific instructions from your doctor regarding fasting. This means you won’t be allowed to eat or drink anything for a certain period.
You may also be advised to avoid certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin.
Overview Of Tonsillectomy
During your procedure, your healthcare provider will administer general anesthesia to ensure you remain asleep and comfortable.
The next step involves the removal of your tonsils. There are different techniques that surgeons use to perform tonsillectomies, including:
Electrocautery involves using heat to remove the tonsils and stop any bleeding.
Snare tonsillectomy involves using a snare, a surgical instrument with a thin wire loop at its end.
Your surgeon places this device around your tonsil to clamp it off and reduce bleeding.
Cold Knife (Steel) Dissection
With cold knife dissection, your surgeon will use a scalpel to remove your tonsils. They will stop the bleeding with electrocautery or sutures.
A harmonic scalpel uses ultrasonic vibrations to cut tissue and stop bleeding at the same time.
Other methods include radiofrequency ablation, carbon dioxide lasers, and microdebriders, which combine suction and cutting.
It is important to note that you won’t feel pain during the removal of tonsils. Moreover, the procedure will be done through your mouth, so you won’t receive any skin incisions elsewhere.
Recovery At Home
The recovery period following a tonsillectomy can be challenging. Many adults experience significant throat pain for 1 to 2 weeks.Your throat pain may initially worsen before improving and also cause ear discomfort.
What You May Experience
During recovery, there may be good and bad days, but the first eight days tend to be the most painful. You may also experience fatigue for one to two weeks, as well as bad breath for up to two weeks.
Within one to two weeks after surgery, you may resume your regular work or daily activities.
Moreover, it is common to experience weight loss following the surgery due to discomfort when swallowing food. However, as long as you consume sufficient fluids, this is not a problem.
Where Your Tonsils Used To Be
A white scab-like coating will form in your throat where the tonsils were removed. The coating may shed in five to ten days and usually disappears in ten to sixteen days.You might notice some blood in your saliva as the coating sloughs off.
Initially, you may notice changes in your voice, but it should return to normal within two to six weeks.
Will Your Immune System Be Okay Without Tonsils?
Tonsillectomy is a common procedure. Over 500,000 are performed annually in the U.S. to treat chronic tonsillitis or sleep-related breathing disorders.
Many people are concerned that their immune systems will be negatively affected by the removal of their tonsils. However, a tonsillectomy does not result in reduced immunity.
Other body parts like the appendix, spleen, Peyer’s plaques, and lymph nodes also help make immune cells.
If you experience frequent tonsil infections or breathing difficulties during sleep, consult your doctor about the possibility of a tonsillectomy.
Tonsillectomy Surgeon Near You In Williamson County, TX
Are you looking for a tonsillectomy surgeon near you? Look no further than Georgetown ENT’s Dr. Scott W. Franklin. He is a double-board certified surgeon with extensive experience in treating tonsil problems in both adults and children. Dr. Franklin will guide you throughout the process to ensure a successful outcome.
After an in-office evaluation, he can perform a tonsillectomy if deemed necessary. These surgeries typically take less than an hour, and most patients can return home the same day. To make an appointment with Dr. Franklin, please contact our office at (512) 869-0604. You can also use our online request form.
Choose excellence in ear, nose, and throat care – choose Georgetown ENT.