What are tonsils?
Tonsils are two lymph nodes on either side of the neck that work as frontline defense and white blood cell creators that fight bodily infections. Many people experience tonsil issues at some point in their lives and can treat symptoms to manage pain and irritation. Symptoms include very sore throat, difficulty swallowing, aches and pains throughout the head and neck, fever and chill, or even bad breath. Tonsillitis often comes along with the common cold or strep throat.
Children make up a large percentage of patients with tonsilitis because of overexposure to germs and growing immunity to everyday pathogens. There are some cases of recurring tonsillitis where doctors and patients may discuss the removal of the tonsils in order to prevent ongoing infections. It’s important to note that tonsillitis is caused by many different viruses and bacteria, and is contagious.
Why do my tonsils continue to be an issue?
A person who continuously has tonsillitis and/or strep throat has reason to be concerned. Not only does it interrupt everyday life, but it can also be a detriment to overall health. Genetic factors are highly linked to chronic tonsillitis. So if an adult had to have their tonsils removed at some point due to chronic disease, their child is more likely to have similar issues.
Chronic tonsillitis is diagnosed if there are five or more infections within a twelve-month period. This is quite common in children, which is why their surgery statistics are greater, but adults can also qualify for chronic tonsillitis and possible removal of the tonsils. Other diagnoses like scarlet fever, peritonsillar abscess, rheumatic fever, and the further spread of bacteria in your body from chronic tonsillitis are also causes for a tonsillectomy.
The surgical removal of the tonsils is called a tonsillectomy. The goal of a tonsillectomy is to decrease the frequency of tonsilitis and/or strep throat, but it is not guaranteed prevention from viral or bacterial infections in patients. There are cases where people remove their tonsils due to frequent snoring that interrupts their sleep as well.
How are tonsillectomies performed? There are many different ways to remove tonsils, all of which are done in doctors offices. All methods remove tonsils through the mouth, either using extreme heat, a “cold knife” or scalpel, different types of lasers, and sometimes ultrasonic vibrations. The Breathe Clear Institute will find which surgical method is most effective for each patient.
Recovery from a tonsillectomy is generally around two weeks, all of which should be restful for the patient. The first days after the surgery are painful, but can be managed with medications from your doctor. Light bleeding and discoloration of the tonsils are common. A recovery plan will be made for you and any dietary restrictions you might have.
Tonsils bothering you? Schedule an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute
If you or someone in your family are experiencing chronic tonsillitis, it might be time to consider your options beyond taking antibiotics. We have a variety of treatment plans that span from at-home remedies to surgical procedures. Our team will work with you to find the best possible course of action.