What is a Tonsillectomy or Adenoidectomy
Any procedure that ends in -ectomy indicates the surgical removal of that of a specific part of the body, so a tonsillectomy is performed to remove the tonsils and an adenoidectomy the adenoids.
When Procedure is Used
Both procedures are performed because infections cause the tonsils or adenoids to become enlarged and to interfere with normal functions. Enlarged tonsils can cause problems with general breathing, with breathing during sleep (especially related to snoring and sleep apnea), and with swallowing. Enlarged adenoids can obstruct breathing and can cause sinus and ear infections. If your child’s or your own tonsils or adenoids become infected seven times in a year or at least five times in each of the last two years, you may want to consider having them removed. While infections are the most common reason for these procedures, they are also removed on rare occasions because of cancerous tissue or recurring bleeding.
A general anesthetic is given to relax your muscles, prevent pain, and help you fall asleep. Whether you or your child are having your tonsils or adenoids removed, the procedure lasts about half an hour. During that time, the doctor will cut out the tissue with a scalpel or will use heat to destroy tissue and stop bleeding through cauterization.
The risks are low. However, potential risks might include
- allergic reactions to medications.
- bleeding during surgery and throughout the healing process
- fewer incidents of a sore throat
- elimination of tonsillitis (inflamed tonsils)
- improvements in breathing and swallowing