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What is Tonsillectomy and Why Would it be Needed?

Tonsillectomy is the removal of the tonsils through surgical measures.  There are two tonsils, oval-shaped pads, located at the back of the throat on either side, which can become enlarged, inflamed, and painful.

Previously one of the most common treatments for inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis), tonsillectomy is now frequently done for sleep-disordered breathing; however, it may still be used to treat the chronic inflammation of the tonsils.

Why is Tonsillectomy in Houston Performed?

As mentioned, tonsillectomy is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Chronic, recurrent, and severe tonsillitis
  • Complications arising from enlarged tonsils, such as difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Recurrent bleeding
  • Rare diseases of the tonsils or cancers

Risks of Tonsillectomy

Like all other surgeries, tonsillectomy comes with some general risks and possible complications.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Negative anesthetic reaction: The medication that puts you to sleep during the surgery can have a negative impact on the body and brain. Side effects of this medication after the procedure can include nausea, vomiting, headache, and muscle soreness.  More serious problems arising from anesthesia could include the risk of death.
  • Swelling: This could cause breathing problems if the tongue and soft palate become overly swollen.
  • Bleeding during the procedure: Very rarely, severe bleeding during surgery can occur, requiring additional treatment and a longer stay in the hospital or surgical center.
  • Bleeding during the healing process: It is normal for a little bit of bleeding to occur during the healing process, but excessive bleeding can lead to more problems and the need for additional treatment.
  • Infection: It is rare for infection to occur after the procedure, but it is still a possibility, especially in humid climates like Houston.

What to Expect from a Tonsillectomy in Houston

Usually done as an outpatient procedure, a tonsillectomy is a common surgery that will allow the individual to go home the day of the procedure, barring there were no complications.  During the tonsillectomy, general anesthesia is administered, which means the individual will not be aware of the experience.  The ENT surgeon in Houston will cut out the tonsils using a blade (scalpel) or other specialized surgical tools that use high heat or sound waves to remove the tissues or stop the bleeding.  During the recovery process, there is usually a pain in the throat and sometimes in the ears, but it may also radiate into the neck and jaw.  Often, the surgeon will prescribe medications to reduce the pain, but it is also recommended to drink a lot of fluids, take in soft foods, and get plenty of rest. The normal recovery time for a tonsillectomy in Houston is 10-14 days.

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