The tonsils are two clusters of tissue located on both sides of the back of the throat. Adenoids sit high in the throat behind the nose and the roof of the mouth. Tonsils and adenoids are often removed when they become enlarged and block the upper airway, leading to breathing difficulty. They are also removed when recurrence of tonsil infections or strep throat cannot be successfully treated by antibiotics.
Tonsillitis and the need for tonsillectomies are more common in children than adults. However, people of any age can experience trouble with their tonsils and require surgery. Tonsilitis at one time were believed to have a role in child's immunity however now they are considered as vestigial organ like appendix and hence have no role in immunity. Infact enlarged tonsils can cause blockage of airway leading to sleep disorders as well as growth issues in child.
Tonsillectomy is mostly recommended if:
- A person has ongoing or recurring episodes of tonsillitis
- A person has recurring episodes of strep throat in a single year despite antibiotic treatment
- Abscesses of the tonsils do not respond to drainage. Or an abscess is present in addition to other indications for a tonsillectomy
- A persistent foul odor or taste in the mouth is caused by tonsillitis and does not respond to antibiotic treatment
- In children if the tonsils are so large that they affect night time breathing, called sleep apnea
- Sometime tonsils are removed when a styloidectomy is performed for the correction of styloid process.
Tonsillectomy surgery is generally performed under general anaesthesia and is an almost bloodless surgery. No cuts are made as the surgery is done through the mouth. In many cases adenoids are removed along with the tonsils. This case is mostly with the children. The reason is that both adenoids and tonsils hinder the airway. Surgery takes approximately 45 mins to 1 hour and patient eats normal food on room temperature after the effects of anaesthesia have veened off. Patient is also advised to eat lot of ice cream after the surgery and the only precaution that they need to take is that they should avoid eating anything sharp and spicy. A gargle is given which has to be done 8-10 time in a day especially after every meal.
It has also to be noticed that not all throat infections are tonsillitis. Many a times a throat infection because of blocked sinus could give same kind of symptoms.
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