Tonsil and Adenoid Surgery
The tonsils and adenoid are mounds of tissue that are part of the body’s immune system. The tonsils are found in the back of the throat, one on each side. The adenoid is a single mound of tissue found in the back of the nose above the soft part of the palate behind the uvula (the little piece of tissue that hangs down from the roof of your mouth in the back of your throat).
During the first 6-12 months of life they serve to help the body to produce antibodies to fight infection as the body is introduced to germs found in our everyday environment. They serve this function till the age of 5 years, following which they are not required for this function. In other words, your body doesn’t really need them.
The tonsils and adenoid may need to be removed for the following reasons:
The Adenoids alone may need to be removed at the time of ear tube placement, especially if a 2nd set of tubes are needed. Indications for removal of the adenoid alone are chronic congestion and/or nasal drainage, recurrent sinusitis or ear infections.
Yes, your child will be put to sleep by breathing in an anesthetic via a face mask. Once asleep an IV and a breathing tube will be placed for the procedure.
Yes and No. During the procedure your child will receive pain medication through an IV. They usually do well right after surgery. The younger the child, the better they tend to do regarding pain and resuming normal activity.
Usually, day 3 after surgery is when most children have the most discomfort. Liquid pain medicine, antibiotics and steroids are prescribed to children.Antibiotics have been shown to decrease post-operative pain.
The newer techniques available now such as coblation tonsillectomy, reduces the post-operative pain significantly.
Bleeding. This is by far the most common complication of tonsillectomy, yet is not common. About 1-2% of children will experience bleeding. This usually occurs about 7-14 days after surgery. Usually the bleeding will stop on its own but call the office if there is any bleeding. There is virtually no bleeding when the adenoid is removed.
The following are extremely rare complications:
Other than bleeding, all these complications are very rare.
Unless you child has a fever greater than 100.5 F or has a significant cold with a wet cough, the procedure usually can be performed. Occasionally the surgery is cancelled, if there is an active tonsillar infection.
Antibiotics, pain medication, steroids and lots of fluids. Make sure your child stays well-hydrated. This will decrease pain and the chance of bleeding!
The Tonsils are completely removed and will not grow back. There is also a very small chance the adenoid could regrow when they are removed at a young age.