Risks Involved in Tonsillectomy & When is it Necessary?

What is Tonsillectomy?

Among kids, throat infections are quite common which leads to problems in a massive way. Tonsillectomies among children are carried out to remove the tonsils, and you can look down the throat of your child with a flashlight to see the swollen glands. If tonsils are severely infected then swelling can be very visible and it will become red as well. A coating of white and yellow layer can be found on tonsils which may become quite problematic in the long run.

Tonsillectomy is a surgery which is performed on children to remove the tonsils which are essential to fight off infections in the body especially throat infections. Tonsils are the tissues in throat which are present as clumps located on both sides and swelling leads to problem of frequent causation of infection in a massive way.

Sore throat and swollen glands are most common symptoms of tonsillitis which accompanies severe fever as well.

What is Tonsillectomy?

Risks Involved in Tonsillectomy

Deciding the need to have Tonsillectomy in kids is based upon some risk factors which should be considered before reaching any conclusion.

  • If throat infections among kids is few times in a year then certainly Tonsillectomy is not a great option, it is a generally known fact that undergoing Tonsillectomy surgery can be very problematic. For this reason, it is better to adopt a wait and watch approach.
  • Your kid should be least reactive to the medications which are a common say when a person undergoes a Tonsillectomy surgery especially kids, drug reactions can be quite probable. Some of the medications which are given to patients while undergoing Tonsillectomy surgery can have severe effects on their overall health. Problems which can prop up are vomiting, nausea, muscle soreness, headache.
  • Major problems are encountered when the surgery is in the initial phase and more prominently, it is in the first few hours particularly that kids may get more affected. So swelling may act as a deterrent when it comes to undergoing tonsillectomy.
  • Bleeding can be a major factor when Tonsillectomy surgery is going on and in rarest of cases, this can be really severe as well. If a kid suffers from this problem, then stay in the hospital can be prolonged which can be a deterrent in coming out with promising results of this surgery. Besides that, additional treatments may become more prevalent in this case which puts burden of taking more medicine on the kid undergoing the treatment.
  • Healing process in the post-tonsillectomy surgery phase can delayed as sometimes it may lead to bleeding which stunts the healing of wounds completely. Though it may rarely happen, but in some cases, treatment can be troublesome due to occurrence of infections leading to an improper healing.

Though, the above risks for tonsillectomy are minor but can assume a severe degree of seriousness when a person has already been suffering from major troubles. If a kid is already suffering from some breathing problem, swelling troubles can become quite common.

This is the whole scenario which decides the need to get treatment done in a proper way. Common problem in above cases lies in prolonged treatments and extra medicine which deteriorates kid’s health due to age factor as well. Heavy dosage can lead to disturbance in the digestive tract, so you will have to think very objectively to get your kid recovered properly from tonsillectomy surgery.

When is Tonsillectomy Really Necessary?

Sleep Apnea: Tonsillectomy procedure is imminent in case of sleep apnea in which a child stops breathing for short duration during sleep. The major cause of this condition is swollen tonsils block the passage of oxygen to airways during sleep.

Obstruction: Tonsillectomy will also be necessary if the patient is having difficulties with swallowing or if there is an airway obstruction caused to enlarged tonsils.

Infection: If the child or the patient is having febrile seizures due to infected tonsils then again a tonsillectomy may be necessary.

Abscess: Peritonsillar abscess, which is also known as quincy, is a recognized complication of tonsillitis may make it necessary to undergo tonsillectomy.

Tonsilloliths: Tonsil stones or tonsilloliths rarely cause any major health complications but sometimes they can grow in size causing your tonsils to swell and cause symptoms like bad breath and difficulty swallowing which may make it necessary to undergo tonsillectomy.

Other reasons can be illness, depression, aggression, mood swings and other health ailments which are quite common but form troublesome grounds for breeding of infections.

Current Opinion on Tonsillectomy

Procedure for Tonsillectomy has been a common thing few years back but owing to some pros and cons, it is recommended that surgery needs to be avoided at an early age because of risks involved and considering the tender age of child.

Besides that, major reason to avoid tonsillectomy is the development of medicine and other drugs which can heal the swollen tonsils in quick time. But many medicines are in early or middle phase of development which has led to suppressing the inclination to adopt surgical procedures for tonsils removal among kids.

Recovery time required in Tonsillectomy will also depend upon the severity of the ailment which can vary from person to person depending upon his body response to post-surgery treatments. It is this tonsillectomy recovery time which acts as a major driving factor in doing off the need to undergo tonsillectomy.

When it comes to application of general anesthesia, the risk involved can be major or minor which is nausea or vomiting. Talking about major side effects, it is the problems related to respiratory failures and in some cases, even high dosage can also lead to death.

Talking specifically about kids, they are seen to have better recovery from tonsillectomy. It is not only the possibility of death that surgery is a cause of concern, but it is also the scenario in which surgical procedures may lead to complicated problems which can disturb overall health of the child.

Majority of surgeries carried out have been successful but the deaths reported can be due to allergic reactions which can be avoided through proper medications and precautions as recommended by the doctors. In general parlance, need to have tonsillectomy should be avoided unless problematic tonsils are decreasing the quality of life of a person. In case of Hyperthemia and muscular dystrophy, surgery cannot be carried out but this is applicable in case of adults only therefore kids are not prone to fall a prey to this. But it is only after due medical consultation that a child should be subjected to surgery so that no complications come up at a later stage of their life.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 17, 2022

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