Tonsils and adenoids are a part of the immune system and help to fight off infections, especially in children. However, in some cases, they may become enlarged and cause problems, such as difficulty breathing or swallowing. This can lead to sleep apnoea, which can have serious health consequences. In such cases, doctors may recommend a tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, which involves surgical removal of these structures. As a parent, it can be difficult to make the decision to have your child undergo surgery. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision.
When is surgery recommended? Surgery is typically recommended when your child experiences any of the following symptoms:
Frequent throat infections: If your child has recurrent infections, (at least once a month continuously for 6 months or at least once in 2 months for 1-2 years) such as strep throat, despite receiving appropriate treatment, surgery may be recommended.
Difficulty breathing: Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can obstruct the airway, causing breathing problems, especially during sleep.
Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition where the airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, leading to pauses in breathing. This can have serious health consequences, such as high blood pressure and heart problems.
Difficulty swallowing: Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can make it difficult for your child to swallow, leading to choking or coughing or aversion to food.
How is the surgery performed? Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are typically performed under general anaesthesia. The procedure usually takes about an hour, and most children are able to go home the same day.
What are the risks? As with any surgery, there are risks associated with tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. These include:
Bleeding: Bleeding can occur during or after the surgery, and may require additional treatment or surgery.
Infection: Infection can occur at the site of the surgery or in other parts of the body.
Damage to surrounding structures: There is a small risk of damage to nearby structures, such as the teeth.
What is the recovery process? After the surgery, your child may experience some pain and discomfort, and may need to take pain medication. Your child may also need to avoid certain foods and activities for a period. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to ensure a smooth recovery.
In conclusion, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may be necessary in some cases to alleviate symptoms and improve your child’s quality of life. However, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits and make an informed decision with the help of your child’s doctor.