Tonsils, Adenoids, and Ear Tubes

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy continue to be the most common procedures performed in an otolaryngologist’s office. The major risks of these surgeries include perioperative and postoperative bleeding, airway obstruction, and risks related to general anesthesia. Also, dehydration is another risk for these surgeries. The youngest patient we have had was 9 months and the oldest, over the last ten years, was 75 years old. Most surgeries are done within 10 minutes. Bleeding is usually minimal. Most patient’s will only bleed one or two teaspoons of blood. However, pain after these surgeries continues to be a problem in any technique that is used.

Most commonly, we use a harmonic scalpel, which is produced by Ethicon, a part of the Johnson & Johnson company. We also use bipolar cauterization for bleeding control. There are several other techniques that can be used, but we found this technique is the most suitable in our hands. Our postoperative bleeding rate is one of the lowest in the Chicago area, and also our dehydration rates. However, none of the patients can be completely secure from these risks.

We strongly advise the patient to return to their diet as soon as possible after the surgery is over. It is not unusual to see our patients eat a full meal right after surgery. We do encourage this because the more we use the muscles that are exposed right after tonsillectomy, the healing process is significantly activated. Usually, the average healing time is 10 days. Most patients will return to full activity within 2 weeks.