- A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the tonsils, two oval-shaped tissues located on either side of the throat.
- Your tonsils prevent throat and lung infections by trapping bacteria and other germs you may breathe in.
- The physicians at AOC discuss tonsillectomies as a form of treatment for sleep apnea.
A tonsillectomy is a relatively common procedure that removes infected, inflamed, or ineffective tonsils from the throat. This procedure isn’t performed nearly as much as it once was several decades ago to treated infected tonsils. Nevertheless, tonsillectomies are still performed as a form of treatment for other ailments, such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects roughly 12 million people in the United States and it causes a person’s breathing to continuously start and stop throughout their sleep. Given the nature of this condition, many physicians may recommend or implement a number of remedies for relief, such as physical exercise, the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, or a tonsillectomy.
A tonsillectomy is typically performed on children suffering from sleep apnea. Most children with sleep apnea have enlarged tonsils and adenoids, and removing them can treat or greatly improve sleep apnea symptoms. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy have been successful in treating the condition 75 to 100% of the time.
This is considered an outpatient procedure, which means patients will be able to return home a few hours after their surgery. However, if complications arise or if the patient has an underlying condition, your AOC physician may advise an overnight stay for observation.
During the surgery, the patient will be put under general anesthesia. A surgeon will then use either a scalpel or heat and sound wave device to destroy the tissues that make up the tonsils. After the procedure, the patient will be sent to a recovery room. Pain in the ears, jaw, and neck are common after a tonsillectomy. Medications will be provided to reduce pain and swelling.
If bleeding, fever, dehydration, or breathing problems are apparent after surgery, it’s important immediate medical attention is sought. Your AOC physician will discuss post-operative recovery with you and ensure you have the tools you need for a smooth recovery. For more information about tonsillectomies for sleep apnea, please contact one of our AOC locations.
Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.