Surgery to remove the tonsils and/or adenoids is usually recommended to treat persistent, serious, or recurring infections of these tissues, or to address obstruction caused by excessive enlargement of these tissues. There are many methods to perform surgery, but typically a cautery device is used to remove each tonsil through the mouth, cutting the tissue and sealing off bleeding. The adenoids are removed with a similar method, also through the mouth. Most commonly, no stitches are placed. The open areas heal on their own. During the healing phase, the areas will become covered with a scab or “eschar,” which will thicken and may change colors over the first few days. These eschars then dissolve and slough off several days after surgery.
Overall risks related to surgery are low, however the recovery period is predictably long and rough. A severe sore throat is to be expected, which typically gets worse before it gets better, peaking around day 6 or 7 on average. Recovery is usually worse and longer in teenagers and adults than in younger children. Typically children will need about 1 week off from school to recover. Adults may need 2 weeks off work. Heavy physical activity and sports should be avoided for 2 weeks.
The surgeons at Peak ENT will be with you every step of the way during the recovery process. One of our four physicians is always on call and reachable for the group, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We do not share calls with other groups, nor do we have residents or mid-level providers covering our calls.