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What is a Tonsillectomy?

Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils. Tonsils are two small glands located in the back of the throat. White blood cells are stored in the tonsils and help you fight infections. Recurrent tonsillitis, throat infections, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are the most common reasons for the surgery.

Tonsillectomy can also be used to treat respiratory issues such as snoring and sleep apnea.

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Who needs a Tonsillectomy?

Children are more likely to develop tonsillitis and require tonsillectomies. However, People at any age can have issues with their tonsils and may require surgery. A single episode of tonsillitis isn't enough to necessitate a tonsillectomy. Typically, the surgery is used to treat those who have tonsillitis or strep throat frequently. Ask your doctor if a tonsillectomy is an option for you if you've had at least seven instances of tonsillitis or strep in a year (or five cases or more in each of the previous two years).

The following medical conditions can be treated with the tonsillectomy include:
  • Swollen tonsils causing breathing issues
  • Snoring is frequent and loud
  • Sleep apnea- a condition in which you stop breathing while sleeping
  • Bleeding tonsil
  • Tonsil cancer
Preparing for a Tonsillectomy

Tell your doctor about any medications, or vitamins you're taking, as well as your medical history. Two weeks before your surgery, you must cease taking anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. This type of medication can make you more prone to bleeding during and after surgery.

You will most likely be advised not to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure. Make sure you have a plan in place for your rehabilitation at home.

Tonsillectomy Procedure

A surgeon will use the most suited procedure for the patient. Listed below are the different types of surgery:

  • Electrocautery: Through cauterization, electrocautery burns the tonsillar tissue and helps to reduce blood loss.
  • Cold knife (steel) dissection: Tonsils are removed with a scalpel using a cold knife (steel). Sutures or electrocautery are then used to halt the bleeding.
  • Harmonic scalpel: This technique uses ultrasonic vibrations to simultaneously cut and stop bleeding from the tonsils.
Risks during a Tonsillectomy
Tonsillectomy is a common procedure. However, like with all procedures, there are some risks associated with this one. These can include the following:
  • Reaction to anaesthesia
  • Bleeding during surgery or recovery
  • Tongue swelling
  • Infection
Tonsillectomy Recovery

During the recovery period after a tonsillectomy, patients may experience a sore throat. You may also experience discomfort in your jaw, ears, or neck. Rest well, especially in the first two to three days following surgery.

Stay hydrated, drink water or consume ice pops. During the early stages of recuperation, the warm clear soup is appropriate food. After a few days, you can add ice cream, pudding, oats, and other soft foods to your diet. After a tonsillectomy, it is advised to avoid eating anything hard, crunchy, or spicy for several days.

Pain relievers can help you feel better while you're recovering. If you have bleeding or fever following a tonsillectomy, call your doctor. Snoring is common and expected for the first two weeks after the operation. If you have difficulties breathing after the first two weeks, see your doctor.

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