What are Tonsils and what is the need for Tonsillectomy

Tonsils are small masses of tissue located at the back of the throat on either side of the uvula, and are visible when you open your mouth wide.

They are part of the body’s immune system to help fight off infections that enter the body through the mouth and nose.

Some problems associated with this are:

  • Tonsillitis is the most common problem and sore throat is the common symptom. In addition, you may also have a cough, fever, headache, feel sick, feel tired, painful swallowing, and swollen neck glands.
  • Infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever) is caused by a virus (the Epstein-Barr virus).
  • Quinsy, also known as ‘peritonsillar abscess is an uncommon condition where there is a collection of pus (abscess) due to a bacterial infection. 
  • Cancer is rare and can cause difficulty swallowing and a sensation that something is caught in your throat. These type of cancer are often diagnosed late in the disease.

What are the indications for removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy)?

Tonsillectomies are recommended in certain situations, such as:

  • Recurrent tonsillitis: If a child has multiple episodes of tonsillitis at least 7 episodes within a year or 5 episodes a year for 2 years or more than 3 episodes a year for 3 years.
  • Sleep apnea: If a child or a person has sleep apnea and their tonsils are obstructing their airway, then surgery may be recommended.
  • Abscess: If there is an abscess, it may be necessary to remove the tissue.
  • Cancer

How is a tonsillectomy performed?

The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia and during the surgery, the tonsils are cut away from the surrounding tissue using a coblator or electrocautery.

What are the risks of the surgery?

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with a tonsillectomy. The most common risks include bleeding and infection. Other risks include:

  • Dehydration: After surgery, it may be difficult for a child to drink fluids, which can lead to dehydration.
  • Reaction to anesthesia: Some children may have a reaction to the anesthesia used during the surgery.
  • Changes in voice: In rare cases, a child’s voice may change after surgery.
  • Pain: A child may experience pain in their throat and ears for up to two weeks.
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