What is Tonsillectomy?


Surgical removal of tonsils is called tonsillectomy. Tonsils are located in the back of the throat and are a part of our immune system that defends the body from infections. Tonsillectomy is usually performed on children.

A tonsillectomy is performed under general anaesthesia and takes about 20 – 30 minutes. In the most common method, the surgeon removes tonsils using a scalpel. Other tonsillectomy methods include using coblation, radio frequency ablation, or CO2 laser to remove tonsils.

A tonsillectomy has no adverse effect on the body’s immunity.

Preparations for Surgery


Pre-surgery

  • The patient should have no food at all from six hours prior to the surgery.
  • If the infant is undergoing tonsillectomy, bring along special formula/breast milk for post-operative feeding.
  • If the patient’s is suffering from cough, cold, fever or throat pain, parents must mention it to the doctor and anaesthetist.
  • If the patient is allergic to any drugs that should be mentioned as well.

Post-surgery

  • The patient will not be allowed any drink or food till 4-5 hours after the surgery. After that cold water can be given to sip.
  • After the patient eats or drinks anything, he/she should gargle their mouth with plain water and that should then be spit out.
  • While mostly it is in throat, sometimes the pain can also be felt in the ears, jaws or neck that can last for up to a fortnight after the surgery.
  • The patient should use pain medications as prescribed by the operating surgeon.
  • The patient should be given plenty of fluids like cold water to drink or even ice-cream.
  • The patient should eat only non-spicy and easy-to-swallow food.
  • Patient should take a week’s bed rest and strenuous exercise, running and bike riding are not allowed for a fortnight
  • The site of tonsils will have some discolouration that will take about 3 to 4 weeks to disappear.
  • The patient may snore and breathe through the mouth due to swollen throat which will take 10-14 days to subside.
  • The patient can have low fever for 2-3 days after the surgery.

Follow-ups

The patient will be required to come for post-op check-ups in the OPD on day 1, day 3, day 7, day 14, day 21, and day 28 after the surgery.

Complications

  • Bright red bleeding from the mouth.
  • Fever might climb higher than 101 F and does not get better with medication.
  • There might be excessive pain.
  • Dehydration might happen, which will show up as dry mouth, tearless crying, no urine output for over a period of 4-6 hours and sunken eyes etc.