Why Is a Tonsillectomy Performed?

Have you or your child been struggling with frequent bouts of tonsillitis or sleep apnea? A tonsillectomy performed by the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors at Ear, Nose & Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery of Fredericksburg in Stafford and Fredericksburg, VA, might be a good option for you.

What are tonsillectomies?

Tonsillectomies are surgical procedures used to remove your tonsils. Tonsils are two fleshy masses located at the back of your throat. They trap germs and can help reduce the risk that you'll become sick if you're exposed to viruses or bacteria.

Although your tonsils help you fight illness, they can become infected themselves. If you have tonsillitis, your tonsils may become red and painful, and you may notice a yellow or white film over them. Tonsillitis can be accompanied by a fever, swollen glands, and difficulty swallowing.

During a tonsillectomy, your ENT removes your tonsils by cutting or shaving them. Before the procedure begins, you'll receive a general anesthetic to ensure that you don't feel a thing.

When are tonsillectomies recommended in Fredericksburg and Stafford?

You won't necessarily need to have your tonsils removed if you develop tonsillitis. Infrequent bouts of tonsillitis can usually be treated with antibiotics and pain relievers. Although tonsillectomies were more common decades ago, ENTs only recommend the surgery today if you have seven or more throat infections per year, five infections per year for the last two years, or three infections per year for the last three years.

A tonsillectomy may also be needed if you've developed a growth on a tonsil, or your swollen tonsils are interfering with your breathing. Sleep apnea, a condition that occurs when an obstruction blocks your airway, can be caused by swollen tonsils.

Sleep apnea occurs when you experience short breathing pauses throughout the night. These pauses deprive your brain of oxygen and increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and other serious heart conditions. If your friends or family members tell you that you snore loudly and you frequently feel tired during the day, despite getting a full night's sleep, you may have sleep apnea.

Do you suffer from sleep apnea or frequent tonsillitis? Call Ear, Nose & Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery of Fredericksburg at (540) 371-1226. 

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