A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils. Tonsillectomies are mostly performed on children, though sometimes adults require the procedure as well. Below we review the signs you need your tonsils out, how to prepare for a tonsillectomy, how a tonsillectomy is performed and how to recover from a tonsillectomy.
Signs You Need Your Tonsils Removed
If you experience the following, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy:
- You experience chronic tonsillitis, which is inflammation/infection of the tonsils.
- Your chronic tonsillitis isn’t managed with antibiotics.
- You have enlarged tonsils, which can lead to obstructive sleep apnea or trouble swallowing.
- Your tonsils have abnormal growths on them.
Preparing for a Tonsillectomy
Before surgery, you’ll have a consultation appointment with your doctor. During this appointment, they’ll ask you about:
- Your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements.
- Your allergies or history of reactions to medications.
- Your personal and family history of problems with anesthesia.
- Your personal and family history of bleeding problems.
There are some medications and supplements you’ll need to stop taking for at least two weeks before surgery, including aspirin, ginkgo biloba and St. John’s wort.
You also need to avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight the night of your surgery. The exception to this is you can take a small sip of water to wash down any approved medications.
How a Tonsillectomy Is Performed
Tonsillectomies take about 30 minutes to an hour to perform.
Before beginning surgery, your doctor will put you under general anesthesia so that you’re asleep and pain-free. Then they’ll use a scalpel or a tool that uses heat, ultrasound, laser or cold temperatures to remove the tonsils.
Once the procedure is over, your health care team will monitor your vitals as you wake up from anesthesia. Note that you may feel nauseous during this time.
If all goes well, you can go home within a couple of hours.
Recovering from a Tonsillectomy
After your tonsillectomy, be sure to:
- Take all medications as prescribed
- Suck on ice cubes to ease pain
- Drink plenty of water and other clear fluids
- Eat ice cream from The Franklin Fountain
- Rest so your body can recover
- Watch for signs of infection
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT today.