The tonsils are two oval-shaped glands located in the back of the throat that help fight infections that enter through the mouth. Since they are part of the immune system, they can be considered to be the body’s first line of defense against harmful bacteria and viruses.
When the tonsils become infected they swell and can cause a sore throat and difficulty breathing. Inflammation of the tonsils is called tonsillitis. It is more common in children, but can happen at any age. The reason for this is that a child’s immune system is not as fully developed as an adult.
To treat tonsillitis, one of the approaches a doctor may consider is surgery. A tonsillectomy is the surgical procedure whereby the tonsils are removed. This procedure is performed on patients who have more than seven cases of tonsillitis in a year, or five cases a year for two consecutive years. Other reasons to perform a tonsillectomy are sleep apnea, loud snoring, tonsil cancer, bleeding tonsils and difficulty breathing.
There are several different forms of tonsillectomy procedures including:
• Cold Knife dissection – surgical removal with a scalpel
• Cauterization – burning away the tonsil material
• Ultrasonic vibration – using sound waves
A tonsillectomy usually takes about a half an hour to perform. It is a relatively common and safe procedure, but with any surgery, there are risks. These risks include a reaction to the anesthesia, swelling, bleeding, pain, fever, and difficulty swallowing for a few days.
If you or your child is experiencing frequent sore throats and your physician is recommends a tonsillectomy, you can schedule an appointment with a surgeon at Flushing Hospital who specializes in this kind of surgery by calling 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.