Tonsillectomies are one of the most common procedures done on children. However, the decision to do one requires a lot of considerations.
In the 60s, there were about a million tonsillectomies that were performed on children younger than 15 years old. This figure dropped significantly in the past years. The culprit? The complications that come with the procedure.
Complications associated with tonsillectomies
The most common complication associated with tonsillectomy is difficulty in breathing (this affects 1 in 10 children). Another complication is bleeding (affects 1 in 20). Although these and other complications can be managed and are rarely life-threatening, one message is clear – tonsillectomies should only be done when necessary.
When tonsillectomy should be considered
The idea of tonsillectomy may be brought by your child’s provider if the tonsils are causing a blockage. The tonsils can grow large enough causing blockage to the airway. This can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, a condition wherein a person may actually stop breathing while asleep.
This condition shouldn’t be treated lightly as it can lead to health and behavioral issues in children.
Another reason for tonsillectomy is recurrent throat infections. Recurrent means the child has over 7 infections in one year, 5 in each of two years, or 3 in each of three years.
Having a sore throat doesn’t count. To consider an infection, it has to be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, enlarged lymph nodes, pus on tonsils, or positive strep culture.
Making the decision
If your doctor opens up the idea of tonsillectomy for your child, talk thoroughly about it. Ask questions and weigh your options. Some cases can definitely benefit from tonsillectomy while others just need a little time or treatment to do the trick.
Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who can help you make the decision for your child. For appointments, you may call us at (865) 244-4396.