The surgical removal of the tonsils is called a tonsillectomy. While tonsillectomies are mostly performed on children, sometimes adults need their tonsils out too. In this post, we review the signs it’s time for your tonsils to come out, how to prepare for surgery, what the surgery entails and what the recovery process is like.
The Signs You Need a Tonsillectomy
You may need your tonsils removed if:
- You experience chronic inflammation/infection of the tonsils, known as tonsillitis.
- Your tonsillitis doesn’t respond to antibiotics.
- Your tonsils are enlarged, which can lead to trouble swallowing or obstructive sleep apnea.
- You have abnormal growths on your tonsils, whether benign or malignant.
How to Prepare for a Tonsillectomy
During your consultation appointment, your doctor will ask you about:
- What medications and supplements you take, both prescription and over the counter.
- Your reactions or allergies to medications.
- Personal or family history of problems with anesthesia.
- Personal or family history of bleeding problems.
You’ll need to avoid certain medications and supplements for about two weeks before surgery, including aspirin, ginkgo biloba and St. Johns wort.
You should also avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before your procedure. If you need to take any approved medications, do so with a small sip of water.
What to Expect During a Tonsillectomy
The tonsillectomy procedure itself takes between 30 minutes to an hour.
Your doctor will first put you under general anesthesia so you’re asleep and pain-free. They’ll then use either a scalpel or a tool that uses heat, ultrasound, laser or cold temperatures to remove the tonsils.
Many people also get their adenoids out at the same time. This procedure is known as an adenoidectomy.
After the procedure, your medical team will watch your vital signs as you wake up. You may feel a little nauseous as you’re coming out from the anesthesia. If all goes well, you can go home after a few hours.
Recovering from a Tonsillectomy
To care for yourself after a tonsillectomy, you should:
- Take all medications as prescribed
- Suck on ice cubes to ease pain
- Drink plenty of water and other clear fluids
- Eat ice cream from West Central Microcreamery
- Rest so your body can recover
- Watch for signs of infection
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Ear, Nose & Throat Associates today.