Should you get your child’s tonsils removed? Here’s your answer

Tonsils removal is generally not the first option to treat tonsillitis, but there are times when doctors recommend it. Here's when you should think of tonsils removal in your children.
tonsils in children
Should tonsils be removed or not? Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 24 Dec 2022, 06:30 pm IST
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No parent wants to listen to a doctor recommending surgery for their child. At times, there is no other option than to accept the advise and let your child undergo surgery. Tonsillitis is quite common among children, and generally they are treated with dietary restrictions or antibiotics. But there is also tonsillectomy, which the doctors recommend only in the end. After all, surgical removal of the tonsils is not always the best idea. As a mother, you want the best for your child, and if someone tells you that your child needs to get the tonsils removed, you will think about it twice.

According to Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, in 1959, as many as 1.4 million tonsillectomies were performed in America. When it became the 24th most common indication for hospital admission, the number of tonsillectomies dropped to 260,000 by 1987.

Since tonsils can hit every child differently, sometimes parents can get confused whether or not they should opt for a surgery. To help you decide whether to get your child’s tonsils removed, Health Shots consulted Dr Savyasachi Saxena, Senior Consultant, Department of ENT (ear, nose and throat), Fortis Hospital Noida.

5 health lessons from every mother to a daughter
Know when to get tonsils removed. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is tonsillitis?

The debate on tonsils removal is incomplete without talking about tonsillitis. It is an infection of tonsils, which are two lymphoid tissues in our throat that control infection. However, when they get enlarged, they start acting as a source of infection, explained Dr Saxena.

Tonsillitis treatment

The tonsilitis treatment is quite simple as it involves drinking adequate amount of water and having pain killers. The expert said that you must avoid sour and chilled food items, and dietary restrictions should be followed religiously. If they don’t get cured then you might also need to take antibiotics. Sometimes oral antibiotics are taken for the treatment and sometimes intravenous antibiotics are given.

Tonsils removal not usually recommended

Doctors don’t usually recommend removing tonsils as they are mostly cured by antibiotics, but “if tonsils appear repetitively then we recommend removing them,” said Dr Saxena.

communication with children
There can be complications if tonsils are not removed. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Conditions that indicate tonsils should be removed

There are certain conditions that you need to keep in mind before going for surgical removal of tonsils. One of them is if tonsillitis occurs three to four times in a year and it continues for two years, second is if the tonsils become so enlarged that the child faces difficulty in eating and even breathing. Finally, if the doctor feels that there is something tumorous in the tonsils.

Complications if tonsils are not removed

Complications could pop up, especially if the child is having acute tonsillitis and it has spread from tonsils to the spaces in the neck that are called pharyngeal spaces or there is pus formation there. In such cases, the child faces difficulty in eating, breathing and even speaking. Also, if it happens repeatedly then it affects the child’s growth as the little one does not eat willingly.

If the infection occurs often and you need to give antibiotics every time then there could be ill effects of antibiotics and the child could also develop antibiotic resistance, shared the expert.

The child could be snoring if the tonsils get enlarged and interrupt in the kid’s breathing.

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Now, you can decide easily when your child needs to go for tonsils removal.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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