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5 Types of Tonsil Surgery

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child having throat examined by professional ear nose throat specialist

Tonsils are the sponge-like lumps of tissue packed on both sides of the throat and can easily be spotted. Although they’re there to fight the microbial invasion, they also tend to attract infections. For some people, the holes or craters are wide enough to trap food particles and, sometimes, mucus.

Over time, they develop into tonsil stones and get inflamed. Unfortunately, when people experience tonsillitis, the last resort is surgery. Despite it being a popular procedure, there are five different types of tonsil surgery, which will be discussed below.

Microdebrider tonsillectomy

This procedure gets its name from the main instrument used in the surgery, known as the microdebrider. This rotational surgical tool is controlled by a foot pedal and shaves the tonsil tissue with its blades until there’s only a layer left in the throat area. After administering local anesthesia, the ear nose throat (ENT) doctor can perform this procedure in a short time. Moreover, the recovery period is encouraging as it takes very little time to return to your usual daily routines.

As a precaution, the microdebrider tonsillectomy isn’t ideal for an individual who experiences recurrent infections. Instead, it’s better suited for those with enlarged tonsils that hinder proper breathing. Therefore, although you may have a qualified ENT doctor to perform the procedure, it will be in your interest to ask what the best type is for your case.

Cold scalpel surgery

This process is the most classic and oldest form of tonsil removal surgery and is popular among many. Despite its description, there’s nothing cryo about it; the term refers to the nature of the metal used. This type of surgery requires the total removal of the tonsil tissue.

There’s no layer or residue as is done in the microdebrider surgery. Moreover, this type of tonsillectomy is performed when the patient is under general anesthesia, and the recovery period is encouraging.

Ultrasonic or harmonic dissection

This tonsillectomy requires a special scalpel. Operating at a high frequency, the energy produced is conveyed into the blade through the tonsil tissue. Therefore, while the tonsil tissue is cut, it coagulates blood simultaneously, resulting in almost no bleeding.

Many ENT doctors prefer this method because of the precise cutting it offers. According to manufacturers, this scalpel vibrates at a frequency of 55,000 cycles every second. Therefore, an ENT doctor must be skilled at controlling the force and vibration the scalpel produces. It’s also performed when the patient is under general anesthesia.

Electrocautery tonsil removal

Cauterization is the medical practice of applying heat to tissue during surgery to mitigate infection and bleeding. The ENT doctor will cauterize the entire tonsil tissue through your mouth and excavate it. After this procedure is done, no layer is left. Even better, it doesn’t require any incision on the skin.

The affected area heals wells after the electrocautery tonsil removal without further complications. This method is quite common and effective. Most importantly, it’s safe.

Bipolar radiofrequency ablation

This method requires energy transfer to the particular tissue to be worked on, specifically the tonsils. The ENT doctor charges a saline layer using radiofrequency waves, an excellent method to remove the tonsils or reduce their enlargement entirely. Before opting for this tonsillectomy method, you should inquire from your ENT specialist if it’s the right one for you. 

What should you do after a tonsillectomy?

Any surgery requires some after-care measures, and tonsillectomy is no different. First, you can return home the same day after the surgery. That aside, it will be best if you made plans to have a trusted friend, partner or sibling drive you back home. Secondly, you should drink a lot of healthy fluids to remain hydrated after the procedure.

After the first few days, you must commit to eating balanced diets that are easy to swallow. For example, applesauce or mashed bananas are smooth, highly nutritious and easy on the throat. Most importantly, your ENT doctor may advise you to avoid mouthwashes for a couple of weeks. Moreover, you may be required to prevent gargling salt water until the specialist gives the go-ahead.

Lastly, it will be in your best interest to strictly adhere to post-operative advice that your ENT doctor gives. If you have questions, you need to ask them directly without resorting to what others say. For your tonsillectomy and all other ENT solutions, contact Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates call us today at Sylva: 828-586-7474, Franklin: 828-524-5599, Murphy: 828-835-1014, New Asheville: 828-458-8100.