Every person knows what tonsils are but not everyone is familiar with what is the actual purpose of tonsils and the reasons why they get removed in so many cases. Being familiar with such facts may be very helpful in alleviating the fears of tonsillectomy. Tonsils are certain clumps of tissue located on both sides of the throat and their main purpose is to fight off numerous different types of infections. When the tonsils themselves get affected by an infection the condition is referred to as tonsillitis. Infected tonsils can easily be recognized by yellow or white coating on them and they are commonly swollen and red. Other common symptoms of tonsillitis may include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, fever, discomfort or painful sensations when swallowing and a sore throat. Some kids may suffer from enlarged tonsils which are not accompanied by any other symptoms. In these cases the tonsils usually shrink on their own after only a few days. One should not judge the condition of their child on his or her own so it is always recommended to visit the doctor who will diagnose the condition properly.
Tonsillectomy is an official term for the surgical removal of the tonsils which is sometimes recommended by the doctor. This surgical intervention is commonly used in cases of obstructive and snoring sleep apnea. This medical condition is characterized by sudden stops in breathing during the night caused by enlarged tonsils which block the airways. Tonsillectomy may also be required in cases of sleep difficulties which affect the child’s daily activities, difficulties eating meat or other chewy types of food, swollen tonsils which make it rather hard to breathe, recurrent tonsillitis, persistent tonsillitis or strep infections. This type of surgical intervention is a simple one but any type of surgery is frightening for both kids and their parents in most cases. The procedure involves general anesthesia, it is performed in an operating room where there is an anesthesiologist who monitors the child constantly. The operation lasts no more than 30 minutes, and the surgeon can easily get to the tonsils through an open mouth, so there is no need for cutting through the skin. The child wakes up in the recovery area and after only a few hours he or she can already leave the hospital. Some discomfort and painful sensations may occur in the throat muscles during a couple of days after the operation.