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Advanced Specialty Associates
Phone: (218) 454-8888
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Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy--When is it time?

Feb 20, 2024
At Advanced Specialty Associates we see many patients concerned with the need to have thier tonsils removed.

Tonsils are lymphatic tissue located at the back of the mouth, on each side of the throat.  Adenoids are the same type of tissue, but are located at the very back part of the nose.  These structures serve their greatest purpose for immune system support in the first 2 years of life. 

So why are they sometimes removed? 

This surgery, called a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy--or commonly known as T&A, is a common surgical procedure done on children.  ENT professionals consider a tonsillectomy surgery when the tonsils and/or adenoids are causing certain types of problems.  One of those problems is when children have issues with recurrent tonsillitis infections.  Tonsillitis is when the tonsils become red, enlarged, painful and often can be covered with exudate (a discharge on the tonsils).  Patients with tonsillitis will experience a sore throat, painful swallowing, and sometimes difficulty swallowing.  Sometimes they will have a headache, fever, swollen glands in the neck, and even ear pain when they have tonsillitis.  If someone has 7 or more tonsillitis infections in a single year, or 3 or more tonsillitis infections over 3 consecutive years--a tonsillectomy surgery may be considered.  Sometimes we remove tonsils and adenoids for other reasons than just infection problems.  We may consider removal of these structures if they are enlarged (hypertrophic) and contributing to things for children like obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, swallowing difficulties, or difficulty moving air through the nose (nasal obstruction) which causes children to breathe through their mouth chronically.  These are the most common reasons tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy is considered for children.