Does your child need their tonsils removed?
Tonsillectomies are much less common today than they were fifty years ago, but each year 530,000 children still have their tonsils removed according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.
“The most common reasons for a child having their tonsils removed are recurrent tonsillitis and upper airway obstruction that causes snoring or sleep apnea,” says Dr. David Walner, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “For younger children, it is more common for their tonsils to be removed because of breathing problems while they are sleeping while older children tend to have them removed because of chronic tonsillitis.”
For kids who are experiencing these conditions, Dr. Walner recommends their parents make an appointment with an otolaryngologist so it can be determined if they are a good candidate for surgery. In some cases, a second opinion may also be helpful if parents are unsure about the decision.
Once a child has been identified as needing a tonsillectomy, it is important to prepare the child so that they are aware of what to expect. This can help recovery go more smoothly, according to Dr. Walner.
After surgery, kids may experience pain for a week to ten days, but medications can be used to reduce the pain. Typically kids cannot eat most foods, however soft foods like ice cream, gelatin and popsicles are usually safe choices. It is also important for kids to drink plenty of water so that they stay hydrated.
While having their tonsils removed may not be the most fun experience for kids, it can improve their overall health in the future, Dr. Walner says.
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