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Tonsillectomy: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Tonsils are a pair of small glands located in the back of the throat in human beings. Tonsils contain a large number of white blood cells that play a vital role in body’s defence mechanism and help to fight infections. However, at times the tonsil itself gets infected. Such a condition is known as tonsillitis and it results in swelling of the glands and sore throat. The other symptoms of tonsillitis include fever and trouble in swallowing. Repeated episodes of tonsillitis may make it necessary for the surgical removal of these glands. This surgical procedure for the removal of tonsils is known as “Tonsillectomy”. Tonsillectomy also helps in treating other breathing problems, frequent and heavy snoring, sleep apnea, bleeding of tonsils and cancer of tonsils.

In most cases, such patients undergo this surgical treatment as an outpatient either at a hospital or at a surgery centre. In both these facilities, the patient receives quality care excluding any expense and inconvenience of staying overnight. An anaesthesiologist monitors the health of the patient throughout the surgical procedure in order to review the patient’s medical history. The patient should arrange the reports of any pre-operative laboratory studies, a few days in advance of the surgery, if they are recommended by his/her doctor. Moreover, the patient should be accompanied by someone from his/her family for taking them to the surgical facility, for staying with the patient for the first night after the surgery is over and for taking the patient back to home.

The patient should avoid taking aspirin or any other medicines containing aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, Advil and others for a period of one week before the surgery. However, the patient is permitted to use acetaminophen as a pain reliever. In addition to this, the patient should not eat anything 6 hours prior to the time of surgery to avoid chances of any anesthetic complication.

How is the treatment done?

The surgical treatment of tonsillectomy for treating problems of tonsillitis and other related problems (such as loud snoring, sleep apnea, bleeding of tonsils and/or cancer on tonsils) is preferably given to children than adults. A single episode of tonsillitis does not warrant the need of tonsillectomy and such a treatment is given to only those patients who have a medical history of having repeated infections in their tonsils. Moreover medicines like aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided for a period of one week before the surgery because such drugs tend to increase the chances of bleeding during surgery.

The treatment of tonsillectomy involves several ways for the removal of tonsils. One of the most common methods is known as “cold knife (steel) dissection” and in this process a surgeon removes the patient’s tonsils with the help of a scalpel.

Burning away of the tissues of the affected tonsil or tonsils is another common method of tonsillectomy and this process is known as “cauterization”. Ultrasonic vibrations are also used in some procedures of tonsillectomy. This surgical treatment generally requires about half an hour for its completion.

All these methods of tonsillectomy are performed after giving the patients a proper dose of anaesthesia. No matter what method is followed for the removal of the tonsils, the patients stays asleep and he/she does not feel any pain during the time of surgery. The patient usually wakes up in a recovery room where the medical staffs monitor his/her blood pressure and heart rate after he/she wakes up. This treatment is effective enough and in most cases the patient can go back to their home on the same day after a successful surgery of tonsils.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Any person, having a medical history of repeated episodes of infection (also known as tonsillitis) in their tonsils, is eligible for this surgical treatment of tonsillectomy. It should be remembered that a single episode of tonsillitis does not warrant the need of this treatment. This treatment is more commonly given to children than adults.

Tonsillectomy has also been proved to be useful for the treatment of problems like frequent and loud snoring, sleep apnea, breathing problems, bleeding of tonsils and/or cancer of tonsils.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Any person who does not suffer from tonsillitis is not eligible for this treatment. In addition to this, if a patient has suffered from a single or two episodes of tonsillitis then such a patient does not need the surgical removal of tonsils. Simple medical treatment can do the need full in such cases.

Moreover, a person who does not have problems like sleep apnea, heavy snoring, bleeding of tonsils, cancer of tonsils or other breathing problems, is also not eligible for tonsillectomy.

Are there any side effects?

Although the treatment of tonsillectomy (involving the surgical removal of the tonsils) has been proved beneficial to cure tonsillitis and other problems, the surgical removal of tonsils has a number of adverse side effects as well. Some of these common side effects include vomiting, nausea, pain in throat, problem in swallowing food and drinks, ear aches, bad breathe, weakness, low grade fever, nasal voice and bleeding from throat, nose or mouth. The severity of these side effects varies from person to person and it is believed that children tend to recover sooner than the adults after such a treatment of tonsillectomy. A patient having any of these side effects is recommended to consult his/her doctor as soon as possible for medical help.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The process of tonsillectomy requires about half an hour for its completion. After this, the patient can go home on the same day of the surgery. The post treatment guidelines for such patients who have undergone tonsillectomy include taking rest and limiting daily activities for a period of at least 7 to 10 days until recovery, taking of antibiotics regularly on time as prescribed by the doctor, staying away from people who have cold or sore throat (because after surgery the person gets more prone to catching a cold or flu), using a cool humidifier in the room of the patient for moistening the air and soothing the patient’s throat, drinking enough liquids that helps to improve the healing. In case of post-surgical bleeding from throat it is advisable that the patient should drink ice water and then sit down and rest. The patient should consult his/her doctor if he/she suffers from any side effects after the surgical treatment is done.

How long does it take to recover?

It takes about half an hour for the process of tonsillectomy to be completed. After the surgery is completed, the patient can go back to their home on the same day. The time of recovery for a patient who has undergone tonsillectomy varies from person to person. It is believed that the time of recovery for children is much less as compared to that of adults. However, it takes almost 7 to 10 days on an average for a person, who has undergone tonsillectomy, to recover completely.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of tonsillectomy in India varies in different places. Hospitals or surgery centres in the metropolitan cities offer this treatment at a pretty higher price than the hospitals of other small cities and towns in India. On an average the price of tonsillectomy ranges from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 85,000 in India. This treatment is available in almost all cities and towns within India.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of tonsillectomy are permanent in most of the cases. However, the patient must always be cautious regarding the side effects of the treatment. If the patient suffers from any major symptoms of the side effects from tonsillectomy then he/she must immediately consult a doctor for its remedy.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Tonsillectomy, a surgical method for the removal of the entire tonsils to prevent further infections is a painful procedure and it leads to difficulty in swallowing for at least upto two weeks’ time. Tonsillectomies usually hurt since they leave a bare surface exposed after the tonsils are amputated. An alternative treatment for the problems of tonsillitis is a new technique known as “Somnoplasty”. Instead of cutting out the tonsils, somnoplasty is concerned with shrinking the size of the tonsils by inserting tiny needle electrodes into the tonsils. The needle electrodes emit an energy wave that burns out the tissues of the tonsils and thereby results in minimizing and shrinkage in the size of the tonsils.

Popular Questions & Answers

I'm having throat infection. Gastroenterologist told it was GERD/LPR. ENT specialist told it was bacterial infection and suggested tonsillectomy. Don't know what to do. I'm having acid reflux and burning sensation in the middle of chest which increases after having lunch/dinner. Blood test report shows increase in the white blood cells. Don't know what to do. Someone help me.

Warm welcome to Lybrate.com I have evaluated your query thoroughly. Go for combined treatment of tonsilitis with GERD It is not mandatory to take surgery always in all tonsil conditions, if after enough medicines problem persist, then only you req...
1 person found this helpful

I have tonsil before 2 months and I consult ent doctor he advice to me your tonsil is chronic so take this medicine for 5 days and admit to hospital for tonsillectomy now I finished course of antibiotic but the condition is no so good now I use medicine for Ayurvedic and warm water with salt today is 3 days and the tonsil condition is little good means no big.

Dear lybrate-user, hi Warm welcome to Lybrate.com I have evaluated your query thoroughly.* Tonsillitis can always be controlled with conservative line of treatment, there is no need of surgery till you have symptomatic control with other measures....
3 people found this helpful

I am 24 year boy and have keratosis tonsil from 2 yrs. Please give suggestion how to control it or remove it mam. Can be he is danger for health.

Keratosis develops in crypts of tonsils as they are blind pouches and retain food particles. Avoid sticky foods like noodles ,kurkure, cheesy material like burgers and pizza. Do regular oral rinse with water after every meal. If it doesn't subside...
2 people found this helpful

Hole in the tonsil and food is stored in the tonsils and it was not cured since 6 months is tonsillectomy is need.

The tonsillectomy is useful if there is a hole in the tonsil and food is stored in the tonsils and it was not cured since 6 months is tonsillectomy is needed.
1 person found this helpful

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