Summertime offers the opportunity for parents to take advantage of the break from school to schedule summertime tonsillectomies for their child that won’t interfere with the school schedule. Since most children require 10-14 days to fully recover from a tonsillectomy, many parents elect to plan the surgery over summer break when the child will have more time to recover without the pressure of getting behind in class work.
The most common reasons for having a tonsillectomy include:
- To reduce infections
- To improve breathing
- To eliminate snoring and restore healthful sleep
Because most tonsillectomies are not urgent, parents can schedule the surgery at the most convenient time for their family. Each year, approximately 500,000 children have tonsillectomies, with the majority of surgeries being performed on children between the ages of 3 and 7.
Tonsils, as well as adenoids (which are often removed at the same time), are masses of lymph tissue located in the throat behind the nasal passages which help the body fight infection. When the tonsils themselves become infected, they can swell, often causing a sore throat, trouble swallowing, and swollen glands. Enlarged tonsils can also cause obstructed breathing, snoring, and even sleep apnea.
Tonsils will often shrink over time, but if your child is experiencing recurrent problems with his or her tonsils, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy, the surgical removal of the tonsils.
Symptoms that could indicate the need for a tonsillectomy include:
- Mouth breathing on a regular basis
- Recurrent ear infections or sore throat: Increases susceptibility to other infections
- Persistent cough, runny nose, or other cold symptoms
- Loud snoring, excessive movement during sleep, or repeatedly waking from sleep
- White spots on the tonsils or bad breath: Created by debris trapped in the tonsil pockets
- Visibly enlarged tonsils
A tonsillectomy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure in a surgery center or hospital setting. The patient is asleep (under general anesthesia) for the procedure, and the surgery usually takes about an hour. Your child is monitored by an anesthesiologist the entire time. After the surgery, parents are invited to meet the patient in the recovery room as he or she awakens. The patient continues to be monitored as the anesthetic wears off. The patient is released the same day, usually within a few hours, and allowed to continue recovery from the comfort of home.
Returning Home After a Tonsillectomy
After having the tonsillectomy, the patient will need to get plenty of rest. Once home, he/she should go right to bed keeping 2-3 pillows under the head for elevation. This will help reduce swelling and minimize edema. While ice cream is often a promised treat after a tonsillectomy, drinking plenty of fluids is imperative in order to avoid dehydration. Pain medicine will be prescribed, and your doctor will advise you thoroughly of all post-tonsillectomy instructions.
A follow-up appointment is usually scheduled for 10-14 days after the tonsillectomy procedure. Patients should take it easy during this time of recovery.
While having a tonsillectomy is not as enjoyable as a summer vacation, the convenience of scheduling the procedure during the summer allows the patient to enjoy video games and watching T.V. while recuperating, instead of being stressed out over missing school or making up homework.
If your child is experiencing recurrent symptoms of tonsillitis or sleep problems, contact our office at 817-332-8848 to set up an appointment or submit an online appointment request.