Adult Tonsillectomy: Are You a Candidate?
Tonsils are masses of tissue on either side of your throat the help fight infections. While they are a part of your immune system, you don’t need them to live a normal, healthy life. With many people, tonsils can become infected, resulting in tonsillitis which can be very painful. This is where a tonsillectomy may be of benefit.
Tonsillectomies are performed on more than half a million children in the U.S. each year, the second most common surgery for children next to ear tubes. But, as an adult, if you’re experiencing certain signs and symptoms, you may also benefit from this procedure. So how do you know if having a tonsillectomy is something you should discuss with your doctor?
Because sore throats are common, you may not recognize that it may be something more serious. If your sore throat is accompanies by any of the following symptoms, however, it may be time to call your doctor. Look for these signs and symptoms:
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes accompanied by a white or yellow coating
- Severe or recurring sore throat or strep infections
- Pain and difficulty swallowing
- Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
- Swollen tonsils that make it hard to breathe, particularly during sleep
- Difficulty eating meat or chewy foods
Tonsillitis can often be treated with antibiotics, but in some instances tonsillitis is chronic, meaning you’ve developed five or more infections over a year’s time. When chronic tonsillitis is diagnosed, a tonsillectomy is recommended as the best form of treatment.
What to Expect
The entire tonsillectomy procedure typically takes about an hour. Under general anesthesia, your doctor will remove the tonsils through your mouth, so there are no incisions to the skin. You will wake up in a recovery area where you will spend several hours at the hospital (sometimes overnight.) The recovery time after a tonsillectomy is generally about a week or more. There will be some pain and discomfort which will subside over time. Eating cold foods like popsicles and taking over-the-counter pain relievers after the procedure can help soothe your throat discomfort. You will be advised to take it easy as you recover to prevent unnecessary bleeding and possibly a repeat visit to the operating room.
Do you think you may be a candidate for a tonsillectomy? Contact us for a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!