Baptist Health Madisonville: Indications for Tonsillectomy in Children
Indications for tonsillectomy in children includes recurring throat infections. Learn about the pediatric indications for tonsillectomy with Baptist Health.
Indications for Tonsillectomy in Children in Madisonville, Kentucky HealthTalks Transcript
Andy Logan, MD, Otolaryngology:
Tonsils are the rounded structures in the back of the throat on either side of the uvula, and adenoids you can’t see, but they’re at the top of the throat right behind the nose. They are what is known as lymphoid tissue. In other words, they are a part of the body’s infection fighting system.
The two primary indications for tonsillectomy in children are recurring throat infections, and the definitions of recurring throat infections are seven throat infections in one year, five throat infections a year for two consecutive years, or three throat infections a year for three consecutive years. The other indication is what’s known as sleep-disordered breathing in which you would see the tonsils and the adenoids obstructing air flow during sleep, causing the sleep to be disrupted and leading to other symptoms in the daytime, such as sleepiness, difficulty paying attention at school, bedwetting, behavioral issues, all of which could potentially be improved by improving the airway during sleep.
We do have criteria that we look for to determine whether it would be appropriate to recommend a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. I want parents to know that you don’t just look at the tonsils and say “oh, they need to come out.” That’s where the clinical practice guidelines come in. If tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are recommended, in most cases it is done through same-day surgery. Usually the child will go home the same day after surgery.
When I end up seeing a child back that I have performed a tonsillectomy on, sometimes years later, it’s very frequent that the parents will tell me that he hasn’t been sick at all since we took his tonsils out, he hasn’t missed as much school, he feels much better, and some parents will confirm that the child’s behavioral issues have become easier to manage.