Function: Tonsils consist of lymphoid tissue where immune reactions take place, especially in children. The adenoid pad also consists of lymphoid tissue which is situated at the back of the nose. Excessive immune reaction of this lymphoid tissue presents as tonsillitis or adenoid inflammation. Although this is a normal reaction, it can become very severe or recurrent in nature in some people. This may also lead to enlargement of tonsils and adenoids, which can lead to snoring and mouth-breathing. All these conditions are then deleterious to one’s health and removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids are indicated.
After this there is still sufficient lymphoid tissue left over in the mouth, nose and throat to facilitate normal immune function.
Procedure: Various methods are used to remove tonsils. This can include cold steel (traditional method), coablation surgery, laser or forms of electro-cautery. The surgery is done under general anesthesia in all cases.
- Pain – A tonsillectomy is painful irrespective of the method applied for removing the tonsil. Pain usually lessens dramatically after 1-2 days, but may worsen again. In most cases patients are pain free after 7 days, although this may take longer, especially in adults.
- Bleeding – The tonsil bed is dry when the patient leaves the theatre. Re-bleeding occurs in 1% of cases and mostly within 7 days after surgery. Please note: this refers to blood that is being swallowed, or flowing from the mouth and not bloodstained mucus seen immediately after surgery.
- Eating – The patient should return to his/her normal diet as soon as possible post-operatively. Initially, it might be easier to swallow a soft diet. Eating early will decrease the pain en reduce the chances of re-bleeding and infection.
Should any complications (especially bleeding) occur, please contact your doctor or go to the emergency room.