The surgical removal of tonsils is termed as Tonsillectomy (pronunciation: ton-sih-LEK-tuh-me). A human body has one tonsil, oval shaped pad of tissue on the backside of the throat, on each side. This was regarded as a common process to cure inflammation and infection of the tonsillitis (tonsils). The main reason for the surgery is sleep-disordered breathing or the patient not responding to other treatments. It takes about 10 days to 14 days to recover.
A tonsillectomy provides excellent treatment for recurring, severe or chronic tonsillitis. Enlarged tonsils complications and various rare tonsil diseases are also cured via tonsillectomy. Alike other surgeries, Tonsillectomy has certain risks such as:
- Reactions to Anesthetics: Short-term or minor problems like nausea, headache, muscle soreness, vomiting, etc., may be caused. Long-term or serious problems are rare.
- Swelling: Tongue and soft palate swelling may result in problem in breathing. This is very common during the initial hours after the surgery.
- Bleeding During Surgery: Bleeding during surgery is a very rare case. This may require additional treatment and patient to stay for a longer duration in hospital.
- Bleeding During Healing: During the healing process, bleeding can occur. Dislodging of the scab from the wound might be one of the reasons of bleeding.
- Infection: There is rarely any condition of infection which would require any further treatment.
Other Tonsil related diseases
A tonsillectomy may also be used to treat other rare diseases or conditions of the tonsils, such as:
- Cancerous tissue in tonsils(Swollen lymph nodes )
- Night Sweats
- Ear Infections
- Frequent bleeding from blood vessels near the surface of the tonsils
Tonsillectomy is considered an easy surgery for kids, in terms of recovery, and on the other hand typically difficult for adults. Here is what the patients could expect in recovery to help their experience easier by preparing them in advance.
Timing: if the case is not under the emergency circumstance, a lot yourself at least a week or two for recovery. Provide proper time for your body to rest and recuperate. Spending time at home during recovery will help in avoiding the chances of any infection.
Accompanying Problems: Pain and incredible stuffiness are the common symptoms post surgery. The swelling in the nasal cavity and throat will prevail for some time. Keep extra pillows at your sleeping space to prop up your head. To further ease the difficulty in breathing and swelling, a cool mist humidifier can be a great help.
Diet: To ensure easy recovery from adult tonsillectomy, keep the tissues hydrated. Drink lots of water, and try to avoid soda, orange juice, or milk. Do not use a straw to intake liquids. Juices of citrus fruits will be painful for the patient to swallow. Lots of cool soft foods and liquids are advisable.
Pain: Be ready to bear the pain. The pain post surgery is unbearable. The pain could be suppressed through the amount of painkiller. But, this may further extend the duration of recovery. Some patients can also switch to OTC acetaminophen.
Blood: Fever and blood are some of the indications of infections to be taken care of during the recovery. Do not get afraid of blood clots during coughing, this condition is common in adult tonsillectomy. Consult doctor if the condition persists for longer.
Swallowing: The patient might experience easy swallowing of food and liquid as the swollen lumps get removed in the surgery. But, swallow very slowly as any haste move may end up choking. The surgery restricts the movement of muscles.
There might be cases when you might need to get emergency care or see the doctor. The conditions might be as follows:
- Bleeding: in case of bleeding, consult the doctor as it might require prompt evaluation and treatment.
- Fever: If fever scales to 102 °F (38.9 °C) or higher, seek for doctor’s advice.
- Dehydration: In case of signs of dehydration, like reduced urination, weakness, thirst, dizziness, headache, or lightheadedness, medical care is recommended.
- Breathing Problems: During the first week of recovery, noisy breathing or snoring is common.
In adult tonsillectomy, gargle with warm salt water is advisable for the patient. The saline warm water helps in cleaning the open wounds. To reduce swelling, applying an ice pack also proves effective. Complications can be the result of untreated tonsillitis. Moreover, surgery is the only way to stop the frequency of tonsillitis.