The surgical procedure of removing tonsils is called tonsillectomy. Your ENT specialist might recommend tonsillectomy to you if you suffer from recurrent tonsillitis—infections of the tonsils. But should you opt for this procedure? Read on to find out the risks vs benefits of this procedure.
What is tonsillectomy?
Tonsils are small glands at the back of the throat that sometimes get infected with bacteria and viruses and swell up and cause pain. Tonsillectomy is the surgical procedure whereby an ENT specialist takes out these tonsils when infection occurs again and again.
The doctor finds it appropriate to remove tonsils rather than prescribing antibiotics continuously. Similar to tonsils are small glands on the roof of the mouth called adenoids that can get infected in children. The surgical procedure for removal of adenoids is called adenoidectomy, and sometimes both are combined for effective relief from disease.
What factors decide if surgery is necessary?
Doctors consider various factors when deciding whether to operate or not. The decision is based on the frequency, severity and intensity of tonsillitis. The more severe the disease is, the higher the chances your doctor might suggest operating. Similarly, seven or more episodes of tonsillitis in a year, or five episodes yearly for the past two years, or three episodes per year for five years warrant tonsillectomy according to international guidelines.
Other factors include increased number of missed school days, trouble swallowing, or trouble breathing, snoring and mouth breathing.
What are the benefits of surgery?
Tonsillectomy is a procedure that benefits people who suffer from more severe symptoms of tonsillitis requiring antibiotics. Studies show that children with tonsillectomy subsequently have somewhat fewer infections following surgery. Even though tonsils themselves have been removed by your ENT specialist, the tissue surrounding tonsils still might become infected. In the long run, tonsillectomy prevents one episode of infection in the year following surgery, and five less sick days per year.
Moreover, children and adults might suffer from difficulty breathing due to the enlarged tonsil, and post-surgery the quality of life is greatly improved in such cases. Snoring and mouth breathing is greatly reduced after tonsillectomy.
What are the drawbacks of tonsillectomy?
Many children grow out of tonsillitis as they grow up on their own, thus making this an unnecessary procedure. Moreover, since it is a surgical procedure, it carries the risks similar to any other surgical procedure, like bleeding after or during surgery, difficulty breathing after surgery, infection at the site of surgery and complications of anaesthesia.
Tonsillectomy is one of the commonest surgical procedures in Pakistan. Despite that, the decision of surgery should not be taken lightly. If continuous and recurrent infections are decreasing your quality of life, and there is no additional risk of surgery (like bleeding disorder) then you can opt for tonsillectomy.
However, only you and your doctor can judge best if this is the right procedure for you. To consult a competent professional, book an appointment with a top ENT specialist in Lahore, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.