Chicago's Trusted Surgeon for Tonsil Removal & Minimally Invasive Sleep Apnea Surgery
The tonsils are the two oval-shaped pads located on either side of the throat that stop viruses and bacteria from entering the throat and causing infections. These tissues can become swollen as a result of infection, which is a condition that’s known as tonsillitis.
A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils, often performed for patients with recurring episodes of tonsillitis that do not respond to treatments that are more traditional. This procedure may also be performed to treat enlarged tonsils that block breathing and put patients at risk for sleep apnea and difficulty eating.
The original tonsillectomy procedure is performed using electrocautery, which heats the tonsils to destroy tissue. New technology has allowed for the development of coblation tonsillectomy, which uses radio frequency energy rather than heat to remove the tonsils. This allows for a more precise removal with less damage to surrounding tissue.
Coblation tonsillectomy offers patients a faster recovery and less postoperative pain, as well as a reduced risk of complications. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Most patients are able to return home after just a few hours.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a surgical procedure that treats sleep apnea by removing excess tissue in the throat and, as a result, widening the airway. This allows air to move through the throat more easily when you breathe, effectively reducing the symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea.
UPPP is recommended for patients with excess tissue in the nose, mouth, or throat that blocks the airways and causes breathing abnormalities during sleep. It can also be used after lifestyle changes and conservative treatment methods have failed. In addition to widening the airway, UPPP also aims to improve the movement of the soft palate and help the airway remain open during sleep.
During the UPPP procedure, tissue may be removed from the uvula, soft palate, and throat, depending on the location and severity of each patient's individual condition. If the tonsils and adenoids are still intact, they will also be removed during UPPP. Recovery usually takes about three weeks.
While this procedure is considered safe, it is not recommended as an initial treatment. Dr. Gary Wiesman will review your medical history with you, as well as answer any questions and address your concerns.
If you believe you might benefit from a tonsillectomy, Dr. Wiesman and our team are ready to consult with you. In the meantime, we invite you to review the following list of frequently asked questions about this procedure. If you would like further explanation on anything you discover here, give us a call — we look forward to speaking with you!
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Tonsillectomy?
Recovery time can vary from patient to patient. Most adult patients are feeling quite normal within just two weeks. Younger patients may heal faster and be able to resume their typical routine within a week. Be sure to follow Dr. Wiesman’s postoperative instructions to facilitate a smooth healing process. Failure to comply with the provided guidance could increase your risk of complications and put an obstacle on your road to recovery.
What Is the Best Age for a Tonsillectomy?
A tonsillectomy can be performed on patients of virtually any age. However, it is generally simpler in children. Most facial plastic surgeons prefer to wait until a child is at least 3 years old, but the procedure can be performed earlier if necessary. Adults may have more scar tissue around their tonsils due to repeated infections and sore throats throughout the years, meaning that the surgery may be slightly more complex for them.
Is It Possible for Tonsils to Grow Back?
In some cases, the tonsils can partially grow back. This may occur because they were not 100% removed during the tonsillectomy. However, it is highly unlikely that you will ever need to undergo a second tonsillectomy. Even if your tonsils regrow, they will probably not reach their original size. They are therefore unlikely to cause problems like sleep apnea or other issues.
What Are the Risks of Getting a Tonsillectomy?
Like any surgery, a tonsillectomy comes with a degree of risk. Bleeding, swelling, and discomfort might occur. Rarely, a postoperative infection can crop up. However, it is important to keep in mind that tonsillectomy is a surgery that has been performed throughout generations, and modern techniques for it are very advanced. The chances that you will experience any severe complications are quite low.
Will Getting My Tonsils Out Adversely Affect My Immune System?
The tonsils are a part of the immune system, so removing them will naturally have at least a small impact on how your body fights disease and infection. However, there is research to indicate that a tonsillectomy does not significantly affect the immune system. During your consultation, we can help you weigh both the risks and rewards of undergoing this surgery before you commit to anything.
What Can I Eat after a Tonsillectomy?
At first, stick to a clear liquid diet — general anesthesia might make you feel a little nauseated, so you should start out as gently as possible. Once you feel comfortable taking in liquids, you can begin to consume soft foods. Things like oatmeal, applesauce, cottage cheese, and even ice cream are all okay. It would be best to avoid spicy and hot foods because they may irritate your throat.