Following are the common questions about Tonsillectomy:
- What is a tonsillectomy?
- Is tonsillectomy an effective surgery?
- What do you mean by tonsillitis?
- What is the role of tonsils in our body?
- How does tonsillitis occur?
- What are the different types of tonsillitis?
- What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
- What are the different diagnostic tests for tonsillitis?
- What are the different techniques used during tonsillectomy?
- What is the duration of tonsillectomy?
- What is the cost of tonsillectomy surgery?
- What factors affect the cost of tonsillectomy?
- What can I expect after the tonsillectomy?
- What kind of foods should I eat after the tonsillectomy?
- Are there any alternative treatment methods for tonsillitis besides tonsillectomy?
- What are the complications of untreated tonsillitis?
Q. What is a tonsillectomy?
A. Tonsillectomy refers to the surgical removal of infected tonsils that are present at the back of the throat. Patients who have difficulty in sleeping (sleep apnea), breathing issues, loud snoring, etc. often benefit from tonsillectomy.
Q. Is tonsillectomy an effective surgery?
A. Tonsillectomy is one of the most effective ways to treat tonsillitis. It is a surgical procedure to remove swollen tonsils. The tonsil’s immune functioning declines after puberty, so there is no requirement for tonsils after that. Hence, undergoing tonsillectomy improves breathing and can lead to better sleep.
Q. What do you mean by tonsillitis?
A. Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of the tonsils due to prolonged viral and bacterial infections that cause sore throat, difficulty swallowing and swelling in the tonsils. It is a common disease experienced by people at least once in their lifetime.
Q. What is the role of tonsils in our body?
A. Tonsils are the two lymphatic nodes located on each side of the back of your throat. They are considered the first line of defense against several viral and bacterial infections that enter our mouth and nose. You can see your tonsils in a mirror by opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue.
Q. How does tonsillitis occur?
A. Tonsillitis occurs when the pathogens or bacterias such as Streptococcal come in contact with the tonsils, which results in infections and inflammation of the tonsils. Tonsils trap germs, viruses, and bacteria as a part of the immune system and hence, become infected and swollen. Tonsillitis can also occur due to frequent exposure to people already suffering from tonsillitis.
Q. What are the different types of tonsillitis?
A. There are three different types of tonsillitis -
- Acute tonsillitis - The symptoms usually last for around 3-4 days to 2 weeks.
- Chronic tonsillitis - Prolonged tonsillitis can cause a sore throat, and the symptoms of tonsillitis are persistent.
- Recurring tonsillitis - Multiple instances of chronic or acute tonsillitis can cause recurring tonsillitis.
Q. What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
A. You must consult the doctor in case you are suffering from the following symptoms -
- Sore throat
- Stomachache or vomiting
- Fever above 100.4 degrees
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Red, swollen tonsils and throat
- Swollen lymph nodes on the side of your neck
Q. What are the different diagnostic tests for tonsillitis?
A. There are several diagnostic tests that can determine the type of infection (viral or bacterial) and the extent of infection.
- Physical examination- The ENT specialist checks for the swelling around the tonsils, which is often distinguished by white spots. The doctor may also check the exterior of the throat for any signs of enlarged lymph glands and a rash that may appear occasionally.
- Throat culture - In this, the doctor takes a sample of the throat by gently swabbing the back of your throat. The samples are checked to identify the cause of infections.
- Complete blood cell count - The ENT specialist recommends this test to determine if the cause of infection is viral or bacterial.
Q. What are the different techniques used during tonsillectomy?
A. The doctor uses different techniques to perform tonsillectomy depending on the severity of the condition, medical health of the patient, and the choice of the patient. Some of the techniques used in tonsillectomy are -
- Coblation tonsillectomy - The doctor performs coblation tonsillectomy to remove tonsils by destroying the surrounding tissues that attach them to the pharynx. The procedure uses low radio frequency, which is less painful than the conventional method.
- Harmonic scalpel - This method involves ultrasonic vibration to remove tonsils and stop the bleeding due to tonsil removal simultaneously. The procedure is done under general anesthesia.
- Cold knife dissection - It involves a steel scalpel that detaches the tonsils from the tissues. The bleeding is stopped via sutures or extreme heat.
- Radiofrequency - This method ablates the tonsils using a carbon dioxide laser or/and microdebrider.
- Electrocautery or Cauterization - The surgeon removes the infected tonsils with the help of heat treatment. The procedure is done under general anesthesia so that the patient won’t feel any pain. The tissues are burnt away through cauterization or heat treatment.
Q. What is the duration of tonsillectomy?
A. The duration of tonsillectomy can be anywhere from 1 hour to 1.5 hours, depending on the patient’s condition, the severity of the disease, and the surgical expertise of the ENT specialist. The OT time of tonsillectomy can also differ based on the techniques used by the surgeon.
Q. What is the cost of tonsillectomy surgery?
A. The cost of tonsillectomy usually starts from Rs. 30,000 depending on several factors such as location, medical condition of the patient, selection of hospital, etc.
Q. What factors affect the cost of tonsillectomy?
A. The overall cost of tonsillectomy depends on several factors such as -
- Selection of the hospital (government or private)
- Consultation cost of the ENT specialist
- Choice of surgical technique
- Experience of the surgeon
- Cost of diagnostic test
- Cost of anesthesia
- Medication cost
- Insurance coverage
Q. What can I expect after the tonsillectomy?
A. Tonsillectomy is a major surgery that can result in minimal bleeding and mild post-operative pain. You can expect the following after the tonsillectomy -
- Mild pain, which is quite common after the surgery which can last for 2 weeks. However, the intensity of pain decreases over a period of time.
- Discoloration around the surgical site from where the tonsils are removed.
- Minimal bleeding after the surgery, which is normal in any surgery.
Q. What kind of foods should I eat after the tonsillectomy?
A. The key to faster recovery is to make sure to stay hydrated and drink enough fluids. Cold foods are easiest for a week, however, the patient must avoid hard and spicy foods. Some of the food recommendations after your tonsillectomy include -
- Ice creams and smoothies
- Water or any other fluid
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
Q. Are there any alternative treatment methods for tonsillitis besides tonsillectomy?
A. Several non-surgical treatment options can help manage the symptoms of acute tonsillitis or infections caused due to bacteria. Some of the non-surgical options for tonsillectomy are-
- Medications - The doctor recommends several antibiotics to help fight the infections caused due to bacteria. Some antibiotics or licorice lozenges (a soothing blend of menthol, licorice root extract, and honey) effectively manage the symptoms of viral infections. However, surgical procedure is the only effective way to treat chronic sinusitis.
- Home remedies - Doctors often recommend home remedies to manage the symptoms of acute tonsillitis. These include saltwater gargles that can help soothe a sore throat and the pain caused due to tonsillitis. Other home remedies include warm tea with raw honey, humidifiers, etc.
Q. What are the complications of untreated tonsillitis?
A. Untreated tonsillitis can lead to several chronic infections and can result in complications. Some of the possible complications of untreated tonsillitis are -
- Scarlet fever - Untreated tonsillitis can lead to strep throat that can progress into scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is identified with a fever, red rash and is usually observed more in children than adults.
- Rheumatic fever - Rheumatic fever is also more common in children than adults that can lead to permanent heart damage. Patients with untreated strep throat or incomplete antibiotic course are more likely to get rheumatic fever.
- Quinsy or peritonsillar abscess - Prolonged tonsillitis can lead to the formation of an abscess (a collection of pus) around the tonsil. Peritonsillar abscesses are prominent in adults and adolescents than children. In that case, tonsillectomy is inevitable.
- Spread of infection - Untreated tonsils contain bacterias that can spread from the throat to the middle ear and sinuses. This can lead to sinusitis or necrotizing fasciitis.
- Difficulty breathing - Enlarged tonsils can cause difficulty in breathing and sleeping.