What Is A Tonsillectomy?

A Tonsillectomy is an operation in which the tonsils are taken out. If a child is having frequent cases of Tonsillitis (this is when the tonsils become infected) then they may require a Tonsillectomy to rectify it. Having this operation will stop your child from suffering from Tonsillitis and the pain, fever and discomfort that comes with it. There are some national guidelines that govern when and if your child might be suitable for a tonsillectomy. If your child has at least seven cases of Tonsillitis in a year, five each year for two years or three each year for three years then this procedure is likely to be the next step. This might come as some surprise to many parents as even one or two severe attacks per year can be quite debilitating  and in many cases surgery is recommended even if the official guidelines are not quite met. Tonsillitis might in some cases resolve by itself but this is not guaranteed. If Tonsillitis is left untreated, it can lead to further complications such as hospitalisation for intravenous antibiotics, severe breathing problems and the spread of infection to nearby structures such as deep tissue or neck abscesses.

What Does The Surgery Entail?

There are several ways to perform tonsillectomy from a surgical point of view. By whichever method, Tonsillectomy is performed under a general anaesthetic and takes around half an hour to complete. The operation will be performed through the child’s mouth. The tonsils will be cut away from the layer of muscle beneath it or heat may be used to remove them and cauterise the area. Any extra bleeding will be stopped.

Recovery And Complications

Usually you will be able to take your child home the day of the operation. The pain will last for up to two weeks and will feel more tender in the mornings. The pain can be quite severe and will get worse before it gets better. You will need to keep your child off school for the two-week recovery period. This will help to avoid infection while the throat is healing.

The common complications associated with a Tonsillectomy are pain, bleeding, infection in the wound and blood clots, ear pain, altered or reduced taste and dryness of the lips and gums. There is a very small chance of some regrowth of tonsil tissue in the future although this is quite unusual.