The tonsils are two small glands situated at the back of the throat with one on each side, and do not provide much function after a child turns three…
The tonsils are a major defence against germs and bacteria when a child is very young. When the child gets older, around three years, the tonsils shrink and we no longer have much use for them, even into adulthood. Although they no longer provide much benefit to the body, a tonsillectomy (an operation to remove the tonsils) is only recommended if the patient is suffering from chronic tonsillitis and they are causing more harm than good.
Why remove the tonsils?
Generally tonsils are taken out due to a history of frequent and recurrent tonsillitis, which required repeated courses of antibiotics and time off work, or if the tonsils are enlarged and block the airway. An abscess that forms as a result of a tonsil infection, called a quinsy, can be very painful and create a very unpleasant experience for the patient. Those that have suffered a quinsy usually opt for a tonsillectomy so they do not have to experience it again.
What should I expect after a tonsillectomy?
There is a very small chance that during the operation we may chip or knock a tooth, especially if capped, loose or crowned. It is important to tell our surgeons if you have any teeth like this prior to surgery.
You may experience some sickness or nausea after the operation, but this is normal and is treated with medicine. Your throat will be sore for around 10 days, and it is important not to take any aspirin as it may make your throat bleed. You may also experience sore ears – this is normal and occurs because your ears and throat share the same nerves.
Your throat will appear white, this is a normal occurrence whilst the throat heals, and you may also notice small threads in your throat that our surgeons have placed to stop the bleeding during the operation. These threads will fall out by themselves.
If you run a fever or notice a bad smell coming from your throat, you may have a throat infection. Call your GP, hospital or qualified medical practitioner if this should happen for advice.
You will need around 10-14 days off work and abstain from crowded or smoky places. If you notice any bleeding from your throat, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible, as this can be very serious.