What are tonsils and adenoids?
Tonsils are small glands in the throat, one on each side. They are there to fight germs when you are a young child. After the age of about 3 years, the tonsils become less important in fighting germs and usually shrink.
They are lymph-like soft tissue located on both sides of the back of the throat. Along with adenoids (soft tissue behind the nose), tonsils help your body fight infection by producing antibodies to combat bacteria that enter through the mouth and nose.
Approximately 600,000 people have their tonsils removed each year.
Does my child / Do I need them?
Your body can still fight germs without them. We only take them out if they are doing more harm than good.
Why take them out?
We will only take your child’s tonsils out if he or she is getting lots of sore throats, which are making him or her lose time from school. Sometimes small children have tonsils so big that they block their breathing at night.
Before your child’s operation
Arrange for a week off school. Let us know if your child has a sore throat or cold in the week before the operation - it will then be safer to put it off for a week. It is very important to tell us if your child has any unusual bleeding or bruising problems, or if this type of problem might run in your family.
How is the operation done?
Your child will be asleep. We will take his or her tonsils out through the mouth, and then stop the bleeding. This takes about 20 minutes. Your child will then go to a recovery area to be watched carefully as he or she wakes up from the anesthetic. He or she will be away from the ward for about an hour in total.
What is coblation tonsillectomy?
Unlike traditional tonsillectomy procedures, which remove tonsils by burning or cutting, Coblation is an advanced technology that combines gentle radiofrequency energy with natural saline — to quickly, and safely remove tonsils. Because traditional procedures use high levels of heat to remove the tonsils, damage to surrounding healthy tissue is common.
Coblation does not remove the tonsils by heating or burning, leaving the healthy tissue surrounding the tonsils intact. The innovative approach of Coblation results in minimal pain and rapid recovery for patients. Coblation has been used in nearly three million procedures by surgeons in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) and other areas of medical specialty.
How chronic tonsil problems are usually treated?
Depending on symptoms, and the frequency of infection, tonsils are typically treated with antibiotics or removed surgically in a procedure called a tonsillectomy.
How is coblation tonsillectomy performed?
Coblation uses radiofrequency energy and natural saline, not heat, to gently dissolve tonsil tissue and remove the infected or enlarged tonsils. Coblation Tonsillectomy is a quick outpatient procedure that takes less than 30 minutes, and is performed in an operating room with general anesthesia. Most patients stay in the hospital only a few hours.
A coblator machine and wand
Why is coblation tonsillectomy a better choice?
Patients report a better overall experience with Coblation Tonsillectomy after surgery when compared to traditional procedures. Studies show that patient calls and visits to the doctor due to complications after surgery are significantly less with Coblation Tonsillectomy.
Because of tissue damage caused by the heat of traditional tonsillectomy procedures, patients often take up to two weeks to return to a normal diet and to resume normal activity. Coblation Tonsillectomy is the gentle alternative offering a rapid recovery and minimal pain, with most patients resuming a normal diet and activities within just a few days.
Am I a Candidate for Coblation Tonsillectomy?
If your doctor recommends your tonsils and/or adenoids be removed, you are a candidate
Why have your tonsils removed?
Tonsils and adenoids can cause health problems when they become infected or obstruct normal breathing or nasal/sinus drainage. Recurring infections in the tonsils can lead to chronic tonsillitis. Symptoms include fever, persistent sore throat, redness of the tonsil area, yellow discharge on the tonsils, and tender lymph nodes on both sides of the neck.
It is common for patients who have undergone Coblation Tonsillectomy to feel better than expected following their surgery, with most patients resuming a normal diet and activities within just a few days.
In addition to blocking the throat, enlarged tonsils may interfere with normal breathing, nasal sinus drainage, sleeping, swallowing and speaking. They may also aggravate snoring and can even cause an alarming condition called sleep apnea which involves an occasional stoppage of breathing.
After the procedure
Your doctor or nurse will provide postoperative instructions, which may include antibiotics and other medicines for up to 1 week. Some minor pain medication may also be prescribed.
How long will my child be in hospital?
In our hospitals, tonsil surgery is done as a day case, so that he or she can go home on the same day as the operation. Rarely, we may keep children in hospital for one night. It may depend on whether your child has their operation in the morning or the afternoon. Either way, we will only let him or her goes home when he or she is eating and drinking and feels well enough.
Can there be problems?
Tonsil surgery is very safe, but every operation has a small risk.
The most serious problem is bleeding. This may need a second operation to stop it. but only 1 child out of every 100 will need a second operation.
Your child’s throat will be sore
Your child’s throat will get better day-by-day. Give him or her painkillers regularly, half an hour before meals for the first few days. Do not give more than it says on the label. Do not give your child aspirin - it could make your child bleed.
Eat normal food
Eating food will help your child’s throat to heal. It will help the pain too. Always give him or her a drink with every meal. Chewing gum may also help the pain.
Your child may have sore ears
This is normal. It happens because your throat and ears have the same nerves. It does not usually mean that your child has an ear infection. The removal of enlarged tonsils like this can relieve airway obstruction.
Your child’s throat will look white
This is normal while your throat heals.
This is normal while your throat heals. You may also see small threads in your child’s throat – sometimes these are used to help stop the bleeding during the operation, and they will fall out by themselves.
Some children get a throat infection after surgery, usually if they have not been eating properly. If this happens you may notice a fever and a bad smell from your child’s throat. Call your hospital doctor for advice if this happens.
Keep your child off school for 7 days
Make sure he or she rests at home away from crowds and smoky places. Keep him or her away from people with coughs and colds. Your child may also feel tired for the first few days.
Bleeding can be serious
If you notice any bleeding from your child’s throat, you must see a doctor. Go to our hospital casualty department which is 24 hrs.