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What to Expect During an Adult Tonsillectomy

A tonsillectomy is frequently associated with childhood, but adults who suffer from frequent sore throats or experience constant pain in their throat may also benefit from having this procedure performed.

An adult tonsillectomy is an outpatient surgical procedure where an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) removes tonsils that have become enlarged or frequently get infected. A tonsillectomy is an extremely common, routine procedure that carries only a small chance of complications.

In this blog, Manhattan ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. David O. Volpi will explain what to expect during an adult tonsillectomy.

What are the most common reasons for adult tonsillectomy?

Tonsils are tissue clusters that are situated on both sides of the back of the throat. They can help play a role in fighting infections, but they often are more problematic than they are helpful. In these cases, they can be removed with no negative consequences.

Adult tonsillectomies are generally performed to treat tonsils that frequently become infected or don’t respond to treatments such as antibiotics and to provide relief from snoring and sleep apnea.

If you’ve had strep throat or tonsillitis more than five times in the past year, a tonsillectomy may be a viable treatment plan in your case.

The most common reasons for an adult tonsillectomy are:

  • Chronically inflamed and infected tonsils that resist other treatments
  • Frequent and loud snoring
  • Sleep apnea
  • Tonsil stones (hard, sometimes painful accumulations of bacteria and debris that can form in the crevices of the tonsils)
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Snoring or sleep apnea that’s caused by enlarged tonsils
  • Abnormal growths on the tonsils

What can be expected during an adult tonsillectomy?

Prior to the procedure, your doctor will give you some instructions on how to prepare for the surgery. It’s not complicated or involved, and usually you’ll just have to stop taking aspirin for at least two weeks before your surgery and stop eating before midnight on the day before your surgery. You’ll also need to have someone drive you home and will need to allow for some recovery time.

An adult tonsillectomy is performed in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort while the ENT doctor conducts the surgery. During the procedure, the doctor will depress your tongue to see inside your throat. He or she will carefully use specialized instruments to remove your tonsils through your mouth. No external incisions are required.

The tonsillectomy procedure usually takes less than an hour, and an overnight stay is rarely required. After your surgery, you’ll be transferred to the recovery room, and the doctor will speak to your loved ones in the waiting room.

You’ll also be given specific instructions to help make your recovery go as smoothly as possible. These instructions include drinking plenty of fluids and sticking to bland foods right after surgery. Plan to rest for a few days and avoid strenuous activities for two weeks. You can generally return to work when you’re eating a normal diet, are sleeping well at night, and don’t need pain medication.

Are there any risks associated with adult tonsillectomy?

An adult tonsillectomy – like any surgery – does have certain risks, including:

  • An allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Swelling of the tongue and soft palate
  • Bleeding during surgery or while healing
  • Infection
  • Negative reactions to medications
  • Difficulty breathing following surgery

Some of the side effects of a tonsillectomy can also include nausea, throat pain, earache, difficulty swallowing, and fatigue.

Where can I find the best adult tonsillectomy surgeon in NYC?

Dr. Volpi has over 25 years of experience treating conditions of the ear, nose, and throat. He is a board-certified otolaryngologist who’s on staff at New York City’s premier hospitals, including Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. He is one of the most experienced ENT doctors in New York and offers the most state-of-the-art treatments available for ear, nose, and throat conditions.

At your appointment, Dr. Volpi will examine your throat and tonsils in order to determine the cause of your issues. From there, he’ll determine if you’re a candidate for a tonsillectomy and will develop an effective, personalized treatment plan. Every step of the way, you’ll be included as a partner in your health and wellness.

If you’re experiencing throat or snoring issue, schedule a consultation today!

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Posted in: Adult Tonsillectomy, ENT doctor