The tonsils are lymphoid ( immune) tissue located in the throat and at the back of the nose.
The tonsils function o assist in the development of the immune system in the first 2-5 years of life. As a child ages, their role becomes less important and non-essential for immunity.
Indications for Tonsillectomy *.
- Recurrent acute tonsillitis defined as
- 7 infections in 1 year
- 5 infections per year for 2 years
- 3 infections per year for 3 years
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Recurrent peritonsillar abscess ( Quinsy)
- Suspicion of cancer
*Sourced from guidelines published by the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgeons and the Australasian College of Physicians.
What to expect with the procedure
A tonsillectomy is performed under general anaesthesia in a hospital.
After inserting a mouth-gag, the tongue is retracted to visualize the tonsils. The tonsils are removed using an instrument that seals the blood vessels and then cuts the tissue. Bleeding is controlled using diathermy or ties. The procedure generally takes 30 minutes.
After a short period in recovery, your child will be observed for 24 hours in the hospital. This is to monitor for any bleeding and to allow pain to be adequately managed. Following breakfast and review by myself in the morning, your child will be discharged home and supplied with appropriate analgesia.
A tonsillectomy is a painful procedure. Pain can last between 10-14 days, with a slight increase in the pain between day 4-7. It is very important to be on top of your child’s pain relief. I recommend regular Panadol for the first 5-7 days, irrespective of the level of pain, usually 30 minutes before eating. Stronger pain relief is prescribed if required and used to manage breakthrough pain. Maintaining a normal diet after surgery is really important in improving recovery and reducing the chance of an infection or post-operative bleed. To avoid constipation from the analgesia please ensure your child eats plenty of fibrous foods in the first week after surgeryI. f your child coughs up more than a tablespoon of fresh blood, please proceed to the nearest public hospital for prompt review. (Post-operative instructions)
I will usually review your child 6 weeks after the procedure.