This procedure involves removal of the tonsils, which are clumps of lymph tissue that are on either side of the mouth by the back of the tongue. It may also involve removal of adenoid tissue which is similar to tonsil tissue located in the back of the nose.
Purpose of Procedure
There are several reasons why this procedure is done: recurrent infections, significant enlargement, a collection of infection behind the tonsil, sleep disturbance, recurrent tonsil stones, or suspicion of cancer.
The procedure involves placing an instrument between the upper teeth and the tongue to hold the tongue out of the way and hold the mouth open. The tonsil is then separated from the muscle and the muscle covering to which it is attached. A special instrument, called a coblator, is used to lessen pain and bleeding.
Following the procedure, fluid intake is very important. Maintaining regular doses of pain medication will make swallowing the fluids easier. An adequate fluid intake will be indicated by light colored urine. An ice pack may be used around the neck to help with discomfort and swelling. A soft food diet may be resumed as the patient desires. The back of the throat at the surgical site will usually appear white. This is normal and is a “scab” that is forming where the tonsils had been. No food with sharp edges should be eaten until the throat resumes a normal color. The uvula (the tissue that hangs down near the back of the throat) may also be swollen. Missing a week of school or work is not unusual. Two weeks are necessary before resuming normal levels of activity. Ear pain may be experienced as part of the healing process and is not a concern unless reduced hearing is also noted. Pain is expected and may be severe for up to 2 weeks after surgery. We encourage you to take your medicine regularly for at least the first 5-7 days after surgery. Postoperative pain medications typically include a narcotic and anti inflammatory medication that may cause drowsiness. Narcotics are not routinely used in children. Operation of motor vehicles or machinery is not allowed while using this medication.
Expectations of Outcome
After the healing is complete, you should notice that swallowing is easier, infections are less frequent, and an improvement in the quality of sleep may occur.