Tonsillectomy and adenoid removal
Indications and Procedures (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
In common use, the term “tonsils” indicates two pinkish palatine tonsils, almond-shaped masses of soft lymphatic tissue located on either side of the back of the mouth. There are two other tonsil types: the lingual tonsils, positioned at the back of the tongue, and the pharyngeal tonsils (adenoids), found in the pharynx and near the nasal passages. Together, the three types of tonsils constitute an irregular band of lymphatic tissue that roughly encircles the throat at the back of the mouth. This tissue band is called Waldeyer’s ring. The surface of each tonsil is composed of many deep crypts that, in the case of the palatine tonsils, often become the sites where food debris lodges or sites of bacterial and viral infections. The resulting inflammation of the tonsils is called tonsillitis.
In many cases, acute tonsillitis causes severe throat pain that is easily cured by antibiotic treatment, without recurrence. In others, it returns repeatedly, leading to chronically infected palatine tonsils. Infection of the pharyngeal tonsils (adenoids) causes nasal congestion, and it sometimes produces hearing loss as a result of the obstruction of the Eustachian tubes, which lead from the ear to the throat. This obstruction of the Eustachian tubes may also predispose a person to ear infections.
Severe, chronic tonsillitis is most often treated by surgery to remove the palatine tonsils. When such surgery is...
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Uses and Complications (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
In most cases, tonsillectomy, adenotonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy are simple surgeries with few complications. The entire recovery period from such a procedure is usually several weeks. Most patients experience severe throat pain during the first few days of the recovery period, but this pain diminishes rapidly with time. It is important for the patient to eat soft food during recovery in order to prevent bleeding, which can become dangerous in some cases. Palatine tonsils do not grow back after surgery, although adenoids may sometimes reappear. The secondary adenoids, however, rarely become troublesome. Tonsillectomy, adenotonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy do not lead to freedom from sore throats. They do usually result, however, in a decreased frequency and severity of throat infections.
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For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Beers, Mark H., et al., eds. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 18th ed. Whitehouse Station, N.J.: Merck Research Laboratories, 2006. This is a reference work for physicians, and the nomenclature can be daunting. It is best consulted after more general introductory reading.
Ferrari, Mario. PDxMD Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders. Philadelphia: PDxMD, 2003. A clinical yet accessible reference text that provides a comprehensive list of disorders, with a summary of the condition, background, diagnosis, treatment, outcomes, prevention, and resources.
Icon Health. Tonsillectomy: A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References. San Diego, Calif.: Author, 2004. Designed for physicians, medical students, researchers, and patients.
Tierney, Lawrence M., Stephen J. McPhee, and Maxine A. Papadakis, eds. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2007. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical, 2006. This text, updated yearly, is the point of reference for physicians and other health care practitioners. It incorporates each year’s biomedical research discoveries that have immediate, relevant, and applicable use for the patient.
Townsend, Courtney M., Jr., et al., eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier, 2008. A standard textbook of surgery.
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