What are Tonsils & Adenoids?
Tonsils and adenoids are the bodys first line of defense as part of the immune system. 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. They sample bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the mouth or nose, which makes them susceptible to sometimes becoming infected. At times, they become more of a liability than an asset and may even cause airway obstruction or repeated bacterial infections.
Who should have them removed?
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.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery recommends that children who have three or more tonsillar infections a year undergo a tonsillectomy; the young patient with a sleep disorder should be a candidate for removal or reduction of the enlarged tonsils. Adults may suffer from chronic tonsillitis, or chronic sore throat, bad breath, and persistently tender lymph nodes in the neck.
Tonsillectomy / Adenoidectomy (removal of tonsils / adenoids)
Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are performed under general anesthesia. The procedure takes about 45 minutes. Once asleep, the patient’s mouth is held open by an instrument and the tonsil and adenoid tissues are surgically removed and sent for pathology. Bleeding is controlled with either a cautery or radiofrequency device.
Most patients take seven to ten days to recover from the surgery. Some may recover more quickly; others can take up to two weeks for a full recovery.