What are the indications and risks for adults having a tonsillectomy?

When you undergo a tonsillectomy as an adult, you can get rid of your bad breath, sleep apnea, or recurrent pharyngitis. Tonsil removal is a relatively straightforward procedure, but it has a high incidence of complications. The most crucial details regarding tonsillectomy in adults are provided below.

Between the palatine arches, on the right and left sides of the throat, are lymphatic tissue clusters called the palatine tonsils. They are members of the mucosal immune system’s Waldeyer’s ring, together with the lingual tonsil and the third tonsil (pharyngeal tonsil).

learn more : Does taking out the third tonsil (adenoid) weaken the immune system and make it easier to get sick?

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

The tonsils’ job is to identify pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and fungi) and encourage the body to create immune cells in response. Yet the correct immunological response can occur without their presence. Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils when necessary to maintain health. This technique is carried out on both adults and children.

Tonsillectomy in adults: signs to look out for

The most common reasons for tonsillectomy in adults are recurrent tonsillitis  and complications like peritonsillar abscesses. The procedure is also done if the tonsils are too big and block the airway, if you have sleep apnea, or if you think you might have cancer in your tonsils (e.g., when the tonsils are asymmetrical). When tonsil stones cause bad breath, surgery is sometimes the only way to get rid of them.

How is tonsillectomy performed in adults?

Tonsillectomy for adults is the same as it is for kids. Since it is done through the mouth, no other cuts are necessary. There are several types of surgery that doctors can use now. Tonsils can be taken out in three different ways: with a scalpel, with an electric current, or with a laser. The procedure usually takes between 40 and 60 minutes and is done with general anesthesia most of the time. It is a pretty easy thing to do. During this time, the patient is put to sleep with anesthesia. With local anesthesia, the tonsils can be taken out while the surgery is going on.

How long does it take for adults to get better after a tonsillectomy?

Wounds after tonsillectomy take 2 to 3 weeks to heal, and many people experience weakness, malaise, and severe pain after returning home. Disturbing signals such as a high fever, increasing pain, or intense bleeding should be reported to the doctor.

Possible problems for an adult after having his or her tonsils taken out

Even though tonsillectomy is a fairly simple procedure for adults, there are a lot of problems that can happen with it. Come from them:

  • pain  – can last up to 2 weeks,
  • bleeding – is a common complication, sometimes requires re-operation, may occur up to 10-14 days after surgery, 
  • dehydration – occurs due to difficulty swallowing after surgery,
  • injuries in the oral cavity – tonsillectomy may be associated with minor damage to the surrounding tissues,
  • voice change – occurs very rarely,
  • hoarseness ,
  • nausea and vomiting ,
  • abnormal healing ,
  • wound infection .

Not all problems that come up after a tonsillectomy can be avoided, but how we handle some of them is very important. Remember to follow the post-surgery instructions, such as getting enough rest, drinking enough fluids on a regular basis, eating the right foods (liquid and semi-solid, soft, delicate foods, chewing food well), and taking prescribed medicines as directed.


Author: DoctorMaryam.org

4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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