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When is a Tonsillectomy Recommended?

Your tonsils are designed to help fight infection, but they can often be more of a hindrance than a help to your body. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to remove your tonsils if they’re causing problems.

In this blog, the ear, nose, and throat doctors at Lakeside Allergy ENT explain when a tonsillectomy is recommended.


What is a tonsillectomy?

woman with a doctorA tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your tonsils – two small, oval-shaped glands located at the back of your throat.

Your tonsils contain white blood cells that help fight infection, but they can sometimes cause problems. Despite their purpose, removing them doesn’t seem to hamper your body’s ability to fight infection.

This type of surgery is sometimes performed at the same time as an adenoidectomy, which removes the adenoids. These glands are located near the tonsils and perform a similar function, but they can also develop problems and need to be removed.


When is it performed?

A tonsillectomy can be performed when the following problems occur:

  • Tonsillitis – an infection of the tonsils that may warrant surgery when it’s recurring, chronic, or severe and hasn’t responded well to medication
  • Strep throat – a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils. A tonsillectomy may be performed if strep throat reoccurs.
  • Adenoiditis – an infection of the adenoids that may require surgery when it’s recurring, chronic, or severe
  • Tonsilloliths – hard and sometimes painful stones that can develop when debris gets trapped in your tonsils and then hardens
  • Tonsillar abscess – a complication of tonsillitis that causes pus to collect behind a tonsil
  • Enlarged tonsils – can cause complications such as difficulty breathing or swallowing and can partially block your airway during sleep, causing snoring and sleep apnea
  • Other diseases that affect the tonsils – are usually rare


What is involved with a tonsillectomy?

This surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or surgical center, so you’ll probably be able to go home the day of your surgery. This can vary, however, according to your particular circumstances and condition. Young children may need an overnight stay.

You’ll be under general anesthesia during the operation, so you won’t be aware of the surgery or experience any pain. Your ear, nose, and throat doctor will then remove your tonsils by using either surgical tools or radiofrequency energy. The method that’s used will be determined by your individual needs.

The surgery typically takes about 30 minutes to perform, and when it’s complete, you’ll be monitored in a recovery room until you’re ready to go home.

You may experience pain after your surgery, so you’ll be given medication to reduce pain and swelling. You’ll also need to get plenty of fluids, eat bland foods, and get some rest. You should be able to resume your normal activities in about 10-14 days, provided you’re eating a regular diet and don’t need pain medication.

If you or your child are experiencing any symptoms that could point to the need for a tonsillectomy, make an appointment today with Lakeside Allergy ENT at one of our three convenient Texas locations. We have three board-certified ear, nose, and throat doctors who specialize in the treatment of tonsillitis as well as in performing tonsillectomies when they’re warranted.

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Office will be closed April 8 due to school closures for the eclipse in the area.