Tonsillectomy in Children

When Tonsils are the Problem
by Micheal Cohen, M.D

Tonsillectomy is the second most common childhood surgery, with more than 600,00 procedures each year, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS). Given this, it's extremely valuable for parents to understand the basic about tonsils and the signs that tonsillectomy may benefit their children. Additionally, newer surgical technologies have emerged that can make recovery easier than many of us experienced when we were young.

an enlarged adenoid blocking the nasal passage

What is the impact of Enlarged Tonsils

Tonsils are masses of lymphatic tissues located on each side of the throat. In some cases, tonsils can become so large that they partially block or obstruct the upper breathing passage, which can lead to sleep-disorder breathing (SDB). SDB is the name given to a range of disorders that includes snoring, shallow breathing and breathing pauses. Some common symptoms associated with SDB are mouth breathing, restless sleep, frequent nighttime awakening, daytime fatigue or hyperactivity and bedwetting. A tonsillectomy is an effective treatment for SDB.

The most extreme form of SDB is obstruction sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing for a few seconds multiple times during the sleep. Children with sleep apnea may be tired and irritable or hyperactive and have difficulty concentrating. Some experts believe sleep apnea in children can contribute to attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness and failure to thrive - a term used to describe infants and children whose growth rate or weight gain are substantially below normal.

The AAO-HNS estimates that 75 percent of tonsillectomies performed today are done to treat SDB assosiated with enlarged tonsils.

What about Tonsillitis

Tonsil tissue is meant to trap bacteria and virus to help prevent infection. However, the constant exposure to bacteria and viruses from the mouth frequently cause the tonsils to become infected and inflamed, resulting in tonsillitis. If a child has very frequent tonsillitis, it's possible that the tonsils themselves have become a source of infection. We refer this as recurrent tonsillitis. In this case, if the condition is affecting the child's quality of life, parents should consult an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat surgeon or ENT). In some cases a tonsillectomy may be recommended. Only about 25 percent of tonsillectomies today are for tonsillitis.

What can I expect if my child undergoes a Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomies are performed at surgery centers or hospital and require general anesthesia. Generally, the procedure takes about 30 minutes, although the child will need to spend some time in recovery room recuperating from the effect of the anesthesia before heading home.

Newer methods are making recovery from tonsillectomy easier on the patient. Instead of the traditional scalped and high temperature cautery, newer low temperature technologies such as Coblation(R)  have been clinically proven to speed recovery times.

At home after a surgery, it's important to get plenty of rest. The post-surgery diet should consist of soft, cool foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Children should avoid strenuous activities. A full recovery may take one or two weeks, but an ice-cream only diet can be avoided, depending on the individual patient and the method of tonsillectomy.   


This article was given to me by Dr Yeo Sek Wee, the surgeon who will perform tonsillectomy on Iskandar. He also the ENT Specialist in PCMC and majoring in paediatric ENT related conditions.. Based from the admission form that I've already signed *__* estimated cost for surgery plus other treatment for this tonsillectomy is about 10K to 11K, quiet costly right? but lucky our medical expenses are covered by *ING, thanks god!! eventho my abah willing to pay for it but as my hubby said "if abah bagi duit, confirm kami guna pergi bercuti" hahaha not cool dear, not cool!!!

From the article, I'm clearly understand that my son not having this tonsillectomy because of  suffering with tonsillitis but more because sleep apnea.. He snore loudly at the night, having restless sleep, excessive napping at daytime (his nap usually takes more than 2 hours) and sometimes pause in his breathing while sleep (it's scared us a lot)        

So dear friends, please be aware if ur children having any of the symptoms of tonsillitis or sleep apnea.. They deserve the best from us..

pic by mr. google



Carrie-Ma said...


ngeri plak aku tgk gmbr tu tp tula, anak kwn aku pun ada sorg baru lps operate tonsil ni. sama mcm iskandar kena. lepas operate tu brp lama plak nak sembuh tu?

HaNiE said...

dalam sebulan for total recovery.. tp seminggu dua should be ok lah