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What is Tonsillectomy?

Doctors used to think that the tonsils and adenoids were of no use in human body. Tonsils and adenoids would be surgically removed (tonsillectomy) for the purpose of preventing tonsillitis. Today, research suggests that tonsils and adenoids are our front-line defense force against infections, which invade the human body through the mouth, nose and throat.

In definition, tonsillectomy just describes the procedure of surgical removal of tonsils for the purpose of relieving tonsillitis symptoms. Tonsillectomy is not a premier treatment option for tonsillitis today, but if repeated episodes of tonsillitis interfere with your breathing or affects your general health, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy.

Tonsillectomy is performed on certain conditions- the surgeon will ask you lots of questions to determine whether or not your tonsils must be removed. If your infection matches the following conditions, your doctor will perform a tonsillectomy:

  • Recurrent infections despite antibiotics intake
  • Voice sound impairment for more than six months
  • Long-lasting airway or swallowing obstruction due to swollen lymph nodes
  • More than six episodes of tonsillitis in one year
  • Three or more episodes of tonsil infection in a three years period
  • More than four episodes of tonsillitis a year for over two years

Tonsillectomy is performed and released the same day. Patients often take less than two weeks to completely recover after the surgery.

Things to do after the surgery

After the surgery, your throat may be very sore. You might also experience pain and discomfort in the ear. However, there are several measures you can take to relieve the discomfort and pain following the surgery.

Measures you can take to relief after-surgery pain:

  • Sucking on an ice cube can soothe the throat tissue
  • Cold liquids may relieve some of the discomfort in your throat
  • Use a dehumidifier to moisten the air in your home
  • Avoid contact with other people (especially children)
  • Spend most time indoors
  • Don't visit hospital or sick people

A patient is more susceptible to infection during the recovery period. However, tonsillectomy does not guarantee permanent insusceptibility to infections.

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