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Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils – the two oval-shaped pads of tissue located at the back of the throat. The procedure is usually performed to treat recurring or chronic inflammation and infection of the tonsils (known as tonsillitis), but it can also be done to treat breathing problems related to swollen tonsils, sleep apnea, cancer of the tonsils, bleeding of the tonsils, as well as frequent and loud snoring.
Tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthetic, so you will not feel any pain during the surgery. There are two ways to perform a tonsillectomy. The most common way is to use a blade or scalpel to cut out the tonsils. The other way is to use a specialized surgical tool that uses soundwaves, or high-powered energy heat to destroy or remove the tissues and stop any bleeding.
Unless there is a complication that occurs after the surgery, you should be able to leave the hospital on the same day. However, plan to stay in South Korea for about 5 to 10 days for initial recovery and follow-up hospital checkups as your surgeon will monitor the healing progress.
The total recovery period can take about two weeks, but most people are able to go back to work or school and resume most of their normal routine within 5-7 days. Avoid any strenuous activities, such as intense exercise and heavy lifting for a few weeks following the surgery to avoid any complications. Your surgeon will give you a detailed recovery timeline for you.
Make sure to take pain medications as prescribed by your surgeon and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You may need to avoid hard, crunchy, acidic, or spicy foods for a while, and your surgeon may give you a dietary plan. Talk to your surgeon about any activities that you need to avoid to prevent tonsillitis from recurring.
Tonsillectomy is generally safe and highly successful. The morbidity rates of the procedure range from 1.5% to 1.4%. However, like other types of surgeries, there are side effects and risks that you should not overlook, including swelling, bleeding during healing, bleeding during surgery, reactions to anesthetics, infection, and sore throat.
In some cases, tonsillitis that is not severe and only happened once does not need a tonsillectomy. For other conditions, your alternative depends on the disease you used the procedure for. For instance, if you have sleep apnea, your doctor may suggest you undergo nasal surgery, tongue surgery, or bone surgery. If you need to undergo the procedure because of cancer, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Having a problem in your tonsils can be uncomfortable, causes painful symptoms, and it can also lead to other dangerous complications. After the procedure, all of your symptoms should be relieved and your risk of dangerous complications is significantly reduced.
Whilst the information presented here has been accurately sourced and verified by a medical professional for its accuracy, it is still advised to consult with your doctor before pursuing a medical treatment at one of the listed medical providers. This content was last updated on 14/01/2023.