A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils from the throat. Tonsils are two small glands that are in the back of your throat. Tonsils house white blood cells that help you fight infection, but sometimes the tonsils themselves become infected.Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils which can make your tonsils swell and give you a sore throat. Frequent episodes of tonsillitis might be a reason you need to have a tonsillectomy. Other symptoms of tonsillitis include fever, trouble swallowing, and swollen glands around your neck. Your doctor may notice that your throat is red and your tonsils are covered with a whitish or yellow coating. Sometimes, the swelling can go away on its own. In other cases, antibiotics or a tonsillectomy might be necessary. A tonsillectomy can also be a treatment for breathing problems, like heavy snoring and sleep apnea.
Deciding about the treatment
Tonsillitis and the need for tonsillectomies are more common in children than adults. However, people of any age can experience trouble with their tonsils and require surgery. One case of tonsillitis is not enough to warrant a tonsillectomy. Usually, the surgery is a treatment option for those who are often sick with tonsillitis or strep throat. If you’ve had at least seven cases of tonsillitis or strep in the last year (or five cases or more over each of the last two years). Tonsillectomy can also treat other medical problems, including breathing problems related to swollen tonsils, frequent and loud snoring, periods in which you stop breathing during sleep, or sleep apnea, bleeding of the tonsils, trouble swallowing chewy foods especially meats or cancer of the tonsils.
Patients can experience some pain as they recover from a tonsillectomy. You might have a sore throat after surgery. You might also feel pain in your jaw, ears, or neck. Get plenty of rest, especially in the first two to three days after surgery. Sip water or eat ice pops to stay hydrated without hurting your throat. Try not to eat anything hard, crunchy, or spicy for several days after a tonsillectomy. Many people are ready to go back to school or work within two weeks after a tonsillectomy.
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