Tonsils are fleshy and oval-shaped glands that are present at the backside of throat. They are considered to be a significant part of immune system as they prevent body from germs and infections. Healthy tonsils restrict the entry of severe infections such as gastrointestinal and lung infections which may enter the body via mouth. However, it has been observed that tonsils are prone to inflammation and infections. An infection known as ‘tonsillitis’ is one of the major cause of uneasiness and discomfort in tonsils. Recurrent episodes of this infection may lead to serious swallowing problems and sore throat. Prevalence of tonsillitis in children is more as compared to adults.
Tonsils may become enlarged and start to swell badly due to an underlying infection. It may result in serious complications such as breathing difficulties, swallowing problems, and a continuous pain in throat area. Tonsillectomy can be defined as a surgical intervention which is used for removing such infected and trouble-causing tonsils.
Patients who belong to the following category are considered as good candidates for undergoing a tonsillectomy procedure.
Frequently Occurring Tonsillitis – Patients who have experienced tonsillitis multiple times may consult an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist for medical guidance. Surgeons are likely to recommend a tonsillectomy if patients have encountered more than four episodes of tonsillitis within a year.
No Relief From Medicines – Patients who did not experience any improvement despite taking prescribed antibiotics medications are good candidates for undergoing a tonsillectomy.
Negative Effects on Health – Patients who are suffering from serious health conditions such as eating and breathing disorders due to an underlying infection in tonsils may opt for tonsillectomy.
Sleep Apnea – Sleep apnea is a health condition that disturbs breathing mechanism of patients during sleeping. Patients struggling with sleep apnea due to swelling and enlargement of tonsils should consider undergoing tonsillectomy for attaining a good health condition.
Cancer of Tonsils – Patients who are suffering from cancer of tonsils may also undergo a tonsillectomy surgery for removing cancerous tonsils.
In some instances, patients suffering from an infection called as a tonsillar abscess that causes accumulation of pus around tonsils may also be treated with tonsillectomy.
Respective ENT specialists may request patients to reveal certain medical details including the symptoms that they are experiencing, exact time when the symptoms started, and current medical reports. They may order a few blood tests to figure out their precise condition. In addition to this, patients will need to follow the given steps prior undergoing a tonsillectomy surgery. It will considerably increase the chances of positive outcomes.
List of Medicines – Patients should make a detailed list of medicines which they consume on an everyday basis and show it to respective ENT specialists. Doctors may prescribe some additional medicines or disallow the use of current medicines for a particular interval of time.
Dietary Changes – Surgeons may ask patients to make some dietary changes in present lifestyle. Patients should strictly follow surgeon’s instructions for a successful recovery following tonsillectomy surgery.
Arrangement at Home – Patients will need to take plenty of rest during recovery time. Therefore, they should ask a caregiver to assist them during postoperative phase.
Patients should not eat or drink anything 10 to 12 hours prior their tonsillectomy surgery.
Tonsillectomy surgery hardly takes an hour or two for completion. It mainly involves the following steps.
General Anesthesia – Tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthetics which implies that patients will be asleep during the entire surgery. General anesthesia prevents patients from any kind of pain and discomfort during surgical procedure.
Removal of Infected Tonsils – Respective surgeons can cut and take out patient’s tonsils either by cauterization procedure or steel dissection procedure. Cauterization procedure involves heat energy or powerful sound waves for destroying and wiping out specific tissues. Whereas, a steel dissection procedure involves cutting and removing the affected tonsils with the help of scalpel or sharp blade.
Monitoring – Respective ENT specialists may monitor patients for some time to make sure they do not encounter bleeding around operated area. They may check their pulse rate and blood pressure for ensuring their safety. Surgeons may allow patients to leave hospital on the same day.
Surgeons or medical staff will guide patients regarding what they should eat until complete recovery.
The following list describes some general risks and complications associated with tonsillectomy surgery.
Reaction to Anesthesia – Sometimes, general anesthesia may cause adverse reaction or allergy. Patients should discuss regarding possible solutions of such complications with respective doctors prior to tonsillectomy surgery.
Bleeding – Patients may experience severe bleeding around operated area. In such cases, patients should right away call the surgeons for seeking medical help. It can be controlled by medicines. But in some serious cases, patients may need to undergo an additional surgery.
Fever – Patients may encounter a high fever of 102 or above. They should not delay and immediately visit their ENT specialists for emergency care.
Dehydration – Patients, especially children may have to face the problem of dehydration following tonsillectomy procedure. They should call respective ENT specialists if they experience symptoms such as extreme tiredness, dry mouth, severe headaches, and decreased urination following tonsillectomy surgery.
Breathing Problems – Patients may experience snoring problems following tonsillectomy procedure. However, chances are that such issues will resolve on its own in some days. But if patients encounter serious breathing problems, then medical supervision becomes necessary.
Patients may feel mild pain across their neck, jaw, throat, and ears following tonsillectomy surgery. Respective doctors are likely to provide medicines to manage such painful condition. Patients should take rest properly during this phase, it will definitely help in minimizing the uneasiness due to neck pain. Patients should eat soft foods until their pain goes away and drink plenty of fresh juices and water to keep themselves hydrated. They should attend follow-up sessions and strictly avoid smoking, abstain from drinking alcohol, and eating spicy foods for few months even after they recover completely. Otherwise, they may encounter some new health problem. Complete recovery will likely take two or three weeks.
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