Tonsils and Adenoids
Many parents wonder if and when their children should have their tonsils and adenoids removed. They will ask, “Isn’t that operation done much less often these days?” These procedures are still quite common, and while they may be done less frequently, there is definitely a place for these operations in treating children with chronic tonsil and adenoid disorders.
The tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are performed for either chronic airway blockage from the tonsils and adenoids, or chronic throat infections. In the former, the enlarged tonsil and adenoid tissue blocks the back of the mouth and nose. Children have difficulty breathing, must pause to breathe while eating. and have sleep disturbance such as snoring and bedwetting. Some children have such a severe degree of blockage while sleeping that apneic episodes, moments of stopped or blocked breathing, can occur. The mouth breathing that often accompanies this condition can also cause problems with dental development. Removal of the obstructive tissue, will often correct the problem.
The other frequent condition leading to surgery is chronic throat infection. The occasional sore throat does not require an operation, but when these become frequent the procedure can significantly reduce the incidence of sore throats.
The recurrence of this type of sore throat severe enough to be seen by and treated by a doctor and possibly qualify for surgery are:
- Seven episodes in one year
- Five episodes per year in two years
- Three episodes per year over three years
These are general criteria and vary depending on the individual circumstances of the child. The same criteria apply equally for adults.
Todd A. Schneiderman, MD FACS
215 Union Avenue Suite C
Bridgewater, NJ 08807