Tonsillectomy is done for chronic infections and/or difficulty breathing. The tonsils are lymphoid tissue that are in the back of the throat and are part of the lymphatic system. They are only two of about 180 lymph stations in the head and neck area. Removing them does not impact on the immune system or predispose the patient to additional infections.
The general indication for removal is 3-4 infections over at least over 1-2 years or more. Upper airway obstruction or apnea(cessation of breathing) are additional reasons to undergo tonsillectomy. The earliest age this surgery is done is around 3 years of age, but in cases of apnea it might be performed as young as 2 years of age. Adults will also have tonsillectomy done if they suffer from chronic infections or upper airway obstruction.
The surgery is performed through the mouth while the patient is asleep using the latest technology, coblation which is much less painful than traditional tonsillectomy by snare or cautery. The coblation technique cools the tonsil as it is removed, hence quicker recovery in the recovery room and at home. Patients will normally spend about 1-2 hours in the recovery room after surgery and then be discharged home. Pain normally lasts about 1-2 weeks, after that full activity may be resumed. It is an outpatient surgery done under general anesthesia. Many children require adenoid removal as well and this is often done to improve chronic ear infections.
Our center has performed thousands of tonsillectomies in children with an outstanding safety record.