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Tonsillectomy in Houston: Purpose and Necessity

A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils, two oval-shaped pads located on either side at the back of the throat. While once a common remedy for tonsillitis, the procedure today is most often utilized to treat sleep apnea and other breathing disorders. However, it remains an option for chronic inflammation of the tonsils unresponsive to other treatments.

Indications for Tonsil Removal

There are several reasons a Houston ENT specialist may recommend tonsillectomy:

  • Recurring, severe tonsillitis unresolved by antibiotics or other measures
  • Enlarged tonsils obstructing breathing or swallowing
  • Repeated bleeding of the tonsils
  • Uncommon diseases of the tonsil tissue
  • Cancer of the tonsil area

Risk Factors to Consider

As with any operation, potential complications should be weighed before undergoing a tonsillectomy. Risks include:

  • Adverse reactions to general anesthesia, including nausea, headaches, and in rare cases, death
  • Throat and tongue swelling obstructing airflow
  • Bleeding during surgery necessitating additional treatment
  • Post-op bleeding requiring further care
  • Infection, especially in Houston's humid environment

What to Expect From the Procedure

Tonsil removal is typically performed on an outpatient basis, allowing the patient to go home the same day unless problems arise. The ENT will administer general anesthesia to keep the patient asleep and unaware. The tonsils are removed either by scalpel, specialized tools utilizing heat or sound waves, or other techniques to excise the tissue and seal bleeding vessels.

During recovery, throat pain is common, possibly radiating into the ears, neck and jaw. Medications are prescribed to control discomfort. Drinking fluids, eating soft foods, and resting are recommended. Full recuperation typically takes 10-14 days.

Fred Aguilar
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