Tonsils & Adenoids   

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                                                                      Children are not meant to snore!                                       

 Notes about surgery:



We offer day surgery tonsillectomy for those children that meet our safety criteria


Due to studies suggesting ongoing adenoid problems related to blind techniques of scraping them out, we have been performing adenoidectomy under visualisation for over 6 years


We offer tonsillectomy for children from 12 months of age onwards


The main reason for this operation in children to treat those who snore and/or mouth breathe; most do not have a history of clinically significant tonsillitis (although that is the second most common reason, and some children have both)

Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

In seeking professional advice regarding sleep disturbances in children who snore, it is worth discussing with your GP and requesting to see a childhood ENT specialist.

Snoring is a noise that is made when there is a blockage to airflow whilst we are asleep. ENT Surgeons have long been aware that sleep apnoea can have serious health effects including heart problems, impaired growth, altered facial growth, and abnormal chest wall development. Needless to say, it is very scary for parents to witness their child stop breathing at night.

We now know that breathing disturbances at night resulting in snoring may have an effect on children during the day as well as at night. This may be evident by day time tiredness, poor concentration, poor school performance, behavioral problems (including Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD or ADHD) and bed wetting. If you have concerns about your child and their snoring, you should firstly talk to your GP. We are happy to offer you an appointment.

What are the tonsils and adenoids?

Most people have heard of the tonsils and some have heard of the adenoids but not everyone knows where they are.

The tonsils lie at the back of the throat and the adenoids lie at the back on the nose. They are made of the same type of tissue known as lymphoid tissue. This is the same sort of tissue as the appendix (infection of this is called appendicitis). Just like the appendix, the tonsils and adenoids can become infected and cause health problems (see below). The role of the tonsils and adenoids is to help our body's immune system. They play a minor role in comparison to the body's overall defenses, which is why they can be removed without any detriment to our ability to fight off infections.


Why do ENT Specialists remove the tonsil and adenoids?

Depending on the health problem, it may be recommended that either the tonsils or adenoids be removed alone, but often they are removed at the same time. The most common reason for removing the tonsils and adenoids is when they are causing blockage to breathing at night- this is a condition known as "Sleep Disordered Breathing" or SDB for short. This condition can be so bad that the blockage prevents children from breathing all-together. This is known as "Obstructive Sleep Apnoea" or OSA.

The other reasons for recommending removal of the tonsils is when there have been several episodes of tonsillitis. It is the frequency and severity of the infections that acts as a guide to the benefit of tonsillectomy. Other types of infections that tonsillectomy may be indicated for include an abscess near the tonsil and a low grade chronic sore throat.

The adenoids lie at the back of the nose and may cause nasal blockage. This may result in a runny nose, snoring, mouth breathing and altered speech. The adenoids also lie near the tubes that go from the back of the nose to the ears. It is because of this close relationship that the adenoids may removed to help reduce middle ear infections.

What are the risks of removing the tonsils and adenoids?

The risks of any operation is something you should be aware of. There are many potential problems that may occur, but fortunately these are mostly rare. The one guaranteed problem afterwards is pain. This may last for up to 2 weeks but is usually about a week in children. The other main risk, especially with tonsillectomy, is bleeding after the operation. Fortunately it is usually not a serious or life threatening problem, but in some instances the bleeding can be quite severe. These risks, and others that are relevant to these operations, are things that would be explained to you at your visit to an ENT Specialist.

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For legal reasons, we are unable to give specific answers to clinical problems without a consultation.
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Last modified: 22/02/13