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NYC Adult Tonsillectomy


What is an adult tonsillectomy?

Many adults who suffer from frequent sore throats or experience constant pain in their throat may seek treatment options beyond antibiotics. An adult tonsillectomy is an outpatient surgical procedure where an otolaryngologist removes enlarged or frequently infected tonsils. It is an extremely common and routine procedure with a small chance of complications.

Tonsils are the small glands located in the back of your throat that help you fight infections. Sometimes, however, the tonsils themselves can become infected, making your tonsils swell and giving you a sore throat. Other symptoms of infected tonsils include trouble swallowing, ear pain, fever, and swollen glands around your neck. Though tonsils play a role in the function of your immune system, particularly during childhood, their removal is not harmful to the immune system.

If you require a tonsillectomy, visit our NYC ear nose and throat practice for treatment. Dr. David Volpi is a board-certified otolaryngologist with over 25 years of experience performing the latest, minimally invasive ENT procedures to treat inflamed tonsils, snoring, and other ENT conditions in New York City. As a nationally-renowned ear nose and throat doctor, Dr. Volpi is highly qualified to perform an adult tonsillectomy. Learn more about our treatments below, or request an appointment online.

Why are adult tonsillectomies performed?

Tonsillectomies are generally performed to treat frequently infected tonsils or to provide relief from snoring and sleep apnea caused by enlarged tonsils. If you have had strep throat or tonsillitis more than five times in last year, consult with your doctor about whether a tonsillectomy is a viable treatment option.

The most common reasons for an adult tonsillectomy are:

  • Chronically inflamed and infected tonsils
  • Frequent and loud snoring
  • Sleep apnea
  • Tonsil stones
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Snoring or sleep apnea caused by enlarged tonsils

In cases where a tonsil infection does not respond well to antibiotics or when an individual is allergic to antibiotics, an adult tonsillectomy may be the best treatment option. Additionally, abnormal growths in the back of the throat or chronic pain on one side of the throat may require the removal of the tonsils.

Although sore throats are common, it may be difficult to know when you should schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist. However, to determine the exact cause of your prolonged discomfort, we recommend seeing an ENT specialist for a comprehensive evaluation as soon as possible.

What are the benefits of an adult tonsillectomy?

The main benefit of undergoing an adult tonsillectomy is the impact on your lifestyle. Patients who undergo this procedure report fewer symptoms afterward than those who do not have a tonsillectomy.

For adults who suffer from frequent sore throats due to inflamed tonsils, a tonsillectomy can provide permanent relief and reduce dependence on antibiotics.

Adults with enlarged tonsils may have a partially blocked airway that can cause snoring and sleep apnea, a serious medical condition that affects millions of Americans. By undergoing an adult tonsillectomy surgery, your airflow will be restored so that you can breathe better, especially at night during sleep.

Many snoring and sleep apnea patients notice an improvement within several weeks of the surgery, and the full benefit of the procedure is noticed over the course of several months.

What can I expect during an adult tonsillectomy?

An adult tonsillectomy is performed in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia so you will not 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, and then he or she will carefully remove your tonsils through the mouth, utilizing special medical instruments. No external incisions are required.

The tonsillectomy procedure usually takes less than 60 minutes and an overnight stay is rarely required. Once the patient is transferred to the recovery room, the doctor will speak to the family or friends in the waiting room.

Prior to the procedure, your doctor will give you specific instructions so that you can properly prepare for the surgery.

What is the recovery time for an adult tonsillectomy?

Most patients experience pain and discomfort for 7 to 10 days following a tonsillectomy. Adults may have a harder time recovering than children. To alleviate pain and promote recovery, your doctor will prescribe medication, and it’s very important that you take your pain medication on a schedule to avoid any unnecessary pain.

Throughout your recovery time, the pain in your throat may be more pronounced when eating or swallowing. Pain in the ears or around your neck and jaw area are normal post-operative symptoms associated with an adult tonsillectomy.

Drinking plenty of fluids, resting and eating soft foods are recommended during the recovery period. You should not engage in any strenuous activity in the ­days immediately following your tonsillectomy.

What are the risks of an adult tonsillectomy?

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

  • 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 also include nausea, throat pain, difficulty swallowing, earaches and fatigue.

Where can I get an adult tonsillectomy consultation in NYC?

Dr. David O. Volpi has over 25 years of experience treating conditions of the ear nose and throat. He is a board certified otolaryngologist, on staff at New York City’s premier hospitals, including Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.

Dr. Volpi will partner with you to examine your throat and tonsils in order to develop a personalized treatment plan. From there, he will determine if you are a candidate for a tonsillectomy. He is one of the most experienced ENT doctors in New York with most state-of-the-art treatments for ear, nose and throat conditions.

For your consultation, simply complete our secure web form.