What Parents Should Know About Tonsillitis and Tonsil Removal

tonsilitis-493087660Tonsillitis is one of the most common medical conditions that occur in children. It is caused by bacterial or viral infections of the tonsils and can result in severe inflammation and swelling.

Tonsillitis is often caused by Streptococcus (strep) bacteria.  Other contributors are the influenza virus, enteroviruses, Epstein-Barr virus or adenoviruses.

In addition to the major symptoms of swelling and inflammation, complications due to tonsillitis include:

  • Painful blisters on the throat
  • Ear pain
  • Hoarseness or the loss of one’s voice
  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Throat pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • A yellow or white coating of the tonsils
  • Tender lymph nodes on the sides of the neck
  • Drooling

Tonsillitis is typically diagnosed by performing a rapid strep test or throat swab culture.  Depending on severity, a doctor may treat the condition with medication or recommend surgery.

Surgery is often considered the best option when tonsillitis is recurrent, unresponsive to medication or when inflamed tonsils are obstructing airways and other severe complications. The name of the procedure is called a tonsillectomy and is performed to remove the tonsils.

Tonsillectomies can be performed as same-day surgery in an ambulatory surgical setting.  It is done under general anesthesia and may last anywhere from 30-45 minutes. The recovery period is approximately 10 days.

The procedure is one of many performed by highly-trained physicians at the Ambulatory Surgery Unit at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. The unit’s newly designed pediatric area offers children amenities such as televisions that feature child-friendly movies, toy chests and coloring books. In this area, children now have the option to ride a tricycle into the operating area. Jamaica Hospital’s on-site Ambulatory Surgery Unit is located on the first floor of the hospital. The Center is open Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, please call 718-206-6102.