Avera Medical Minute: Questions and answers about tonsils

Published: Sep. 20, 2020 at 11:15 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

We’re talking to Avera ear, nose, and throat physician Dr. Bob Cihak. He has information about when to get help when it comes to your tonsils.

Q: Dr. Cihak, can you please tell us what are some of the conditions that you see with patients and problems with tonsils?

A: So the most common reason I see people for tonsillectomy is chronic infections, and that presents with recurring sore throats. People often get diagnosed with strep throat. And the other main reason is big tonsils that cause obstructive symptoms, and people typically present with snoring at night, sometimes stopping breathing at night. Poor sleep quality and even difficulty with swallowing solid foods.

Q: When would be an appropriate time to go seek medical help?

A: They’re getting so many sore throats that they’re always on antibiotics they start getting resistant antibiotics. If they notice that their sleep quality and attention span during the day is poor because of their sleep, those are good times to come have the tonsils addressed.

Q: And a lot of times when you think about removing tonsils you’re thinking about young children, but you’re saying adults sometimes need that intervention too?

A: Adults can still get recurring sore throats. Some of them have had them their whole life and we’re told that you’ll outgrow this eventually and while some do some don’t.

Q: So I understand the procedure to remove tonsils is relatively quick, 15 to 20 minutes, but there is something that the patients need to be aware of after the procedure recoveries?

A: Usually pretty rough. It’s usually a week to sometimes two weeks of a severe sore throat, sometimes small children, end up needing IV fluids. There’s a three to 8% risk of post stop bleeding to get your tonsils out which sometimes needs rehospitalization.

Q: Tell me about this new procedure that you’ve implemented recently.

A: This new intracapsular technique, I would never go back and I think it’s been one of the better gifts I could give to my patients with tonsil problems. The pain has been a whole lot less, people aren’t missing as much school or work, and it’s been a game-changer. It’s worth going through the procedure like this to end all the sore throats, to get rid of snoring and sleep apnea, then it’s probably time to address this.

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