Bacterial infections of the tonsils, especially those caused by streptococcus, are first treated with antibiotics. Sometimes, removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids may be recommended if there are recurrent infections despite antibiotic therapy, and/or difficulty breathing due to enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids. Such obstruction to breathing causes snoring and disturbed sleep that leads to daytime sleepiness in adults and behavioral problems in children.
Chronic infection can affect other areas such as the eustachian tube – the passage between the back of the nose and the inside of the ear. This can lead to frequent ear infections and potential hearing loss. Recent studies indicate adenoidectomy may be a beneficial treatment for some children with chronic earaches accompanied by fluid in the middle ear (otitis media with effusion).
In adults, the possibility of cancer or a tumor may be another reason for removing the tonsils and adenoids. In some patients, especially those with infectious mononucleosis, severe enlargement may obstruct the airway. For those patients, treatment with steroids (e.g., cortisone) is sometimes helpful.
Tonsillitis is an infection in one or both tonsils. One sign is swelling of the tonsils. Other signs or symptoms are:
Breathing stops for a few seconds at night during snoring or loud breathing (sleep apnea)
A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils. Tonsillectomies are performed for a variety of reasons with two of the most common being chronic tonsillitis and tonsillar hypertrophy (enlarged tonsils). Tonsillectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. Tonsillectomies are a relatively quick procedure, and most patients can go home the same day.
Dr. Todd Weiss offers a gentler treatment for tonsillectomy called COBLATION Technology. COBLATION technology combines radiofrequency energy and saline to create a plasma field. The plasma field remains at a relatively low temperature as it precisely ablates the targeted tonsil tissue. The COBLATION plasma field removes target tissue while minimizing damage to surrounding areas.
Surgeons and patients alike have searched for years for a better way to remove the tonsils. Because the tonsils are located in the throat, removing them with an electrosurgery device can often lead to painful damage of nearby tissue. COBLATION technology offered an alternative to high-heat electrosurgery.
Unlike the electrosurgery procedure, a COBLATION tonsillectomy generates significantly lower temperatures on contacted tissue. This gives surgeons the ability to precisely remove targeted tonsil tissue while preserving the nearby healthy tissue.
COBLATION technology precisely removes tissue by dissolving the tonsils at the molecular level rather than rupturing or burning the cells.