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Tonsillitis – Tonsillectomy

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There is a condition we call chronic tonsillitis. That tonsillitis is where you get repeated infections in the tonsils themselves and you make all too frequent journeys to either your pediatrician or your ear, nose, and throat doctor. There are certain criteria by which we recommend a tonsillectomy to actually have the tonsils removed. Those criteria are: six infections in one year, five in each of two years, or three in each of three years. So you can see that we don't recommend taking tonsils out easily. What we want to do is see if we can get you through a period of time where those tonsils become infected, they get treated, and hopefully will remain quiet subsequently. In those patients though, who do meet the criteria that I just mentioned, we will then recommend a tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that we do all too commonly in either an ambulatory surgical setting or in a hospital. The patient goes home the same day and certainly there's a sore throat associated with it. Adult tonsillectomies take longer to recover. Again, what we're trying to do is treat with medicines, treat with antibiotics, to avoid having a surgical procedure. The main risk in having a tonsillectomy is postoperative bleeding, which occurs in approximately 2% of patients nationally. In addition, what we'd like to do is have you have lots of fluids afterwards and the more fluids that a patient has post-tonsillectomy, the better that they do. We send the tonsils off to pathology, where we examine them and make sure that there is simply only chronic infection in there.

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