Children’s Tonsil Surgery

If your child is experiencing problems with their tonsils, you should see a doctor. They can assess the severity of your child’s symptoms and suggest the most appropriate way of dealing with them.

What do tonsils do? 

Tonsils are small glands in the throat, one on each side. They are there to fight germs when you are a young child. 

After the age of about three years, the tonsils become less important in fighting germs and usually shrink. Your body can still fight germs without them, and we only take them out if they are doing more harm than good.

What is tonsillitis? 

Some children may experience tonsillitis. This is when the tonsils become inflamed and can cause pain. The tonsils may swell, become red and have white spots on them. 

 Most of the time, tonsillitis can be treated using over-the-counter medications. Tonsillitis is most commonly caused by a virus, meaning antibiotics cannot be used to treat it. Antibiotics can only be used for bacterial infections.

What if my child is experiencing tonsillitis frequently? 

 If your child is experiencing frequent episodes of tonsillitis, you will likely be advised to keep a diary. This will help the doctor to assess the frequency and severity of your child’s symptoms. 

 In some instances, tonsil surgery may be suggested. Your child may be offered this surgery if they experience frequent sore throats or have sleep apnoea.

What happens during a tonsillectomy? 

Coblation Tonsillectomy

This alternative procedure to traditional tonsillectomy uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of your tonsils. This procedure is minimally invasive, causing less discomfort and reducing recovery time.

A minimally-invasive alternative way to remove the tonsils and adenoids.

Unlike a traditional surgical knife or “electrocautery” (heat) procedure, tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy using COBLATION™ Plasma Technology can be used to reduce the size of your tonsils and remove your adenoids with little harm to surrounding healthy tissue.

What is CoblationTM technology?

COBLATION™ Technology utilises radiofrequency energy to remove tissue. Because the COBLATION™ process is not a heat-driven process, surrounding healthy tissue is preserved.

How is tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy using COBLATION™ Technology performed?

This surgery is almost always done under general anaesthesia and it only lasts about 30 minutes. The surgeon uses a special hand piece which utilises radiofrequency energy to reduce the tonsil tissue and remove the adenoids in a near bloodless fashion. Most patients can go home the same day.

Going home and recovery

When you leave the hospital, you may get a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics to help fight infections.

You should:

  • rest at home for a few days to a week
  • avoid vigorous physical activities for a week or two.

You may:

  • have a sore throat and a hard time swallowing for a few days
  • find softer foods easier to eat and swallow but most food is OK.
Risk and complications

Every surgical procedure carries a degree of risk. Your consultant will discuss all the possible risks with you during your consultation.

As with all tonsillectomy procedures, in addition to general anaesthesia risks, 2-3% of tonsillectomy patients can experience post-op bleeding (up to 5-10 days after surgery). Fever can be present, and dehydration and weight loss can occur, especially among children who won’t eat or drink due to pain.