Tonsillitis is a relatively common upper respiratory illness, and a single instance might not be cause for concern. However, recurrent infection of the tonsils might indicate that removal is necessary. If you have a history of tonsillitis, or your infection isn’t responding to traditional treatment, your doctor might recommend a tonsillectomy to curb the issue.
South Louisiana Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastics (SLENT) has locations in Mandeville, Slidell, and Hammond, Louisiana. The SLENT team understands how to diagnose and treat issues like tonsillitis, and can tell you if you need to have your tonsils removed.
Symptoms of tonsillitis
Respiratory illnesses are often difficult to diagnose, but tonsillitis has a few notable symptoms that make it easy to spot. These include:
- Rough, scratchy, or lost voice
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Severely sore throat
- Tender throat and jaw
You can also try to look at your tonsils by aiming a mirror or camera at the back of your throat. Infected or inflamed tonsils will appear red, swollen, or discolored. Your tonsils might even develop patches of white, yellow, or pale green.
Strep throat and tonsillitis share many of the same symptoms, and they’re often caused by the same bacterium. However, only tonsillitis causes the tonsils to become swollen and spotted. Your doctor checks for this during your visit.
Tonsillitis is rarely a cause for concern on its own, but it can sometimes lead to concerning complications. If you experience a high fever, neck stiffness, or a red rash, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
When to consider a tonsillectomy
Contrary to popular belief, a tonsillectomy isn’t always the straightforward solution to tonsillitis. Many cases of tonsil inflammation clear up on their own, and bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. While doctors used to proactively perform the surgery to avoid future infections, nowadays tonsillectomies are reserved for recurrent or severe cases.
The team at SLENT might recommend a tonsillectomy if you’ve experienced:
- Seven episodes in a single year
- Five episodes a year for two years
- Three episodes a year for three years
- Severe complications (such as peritonsillar abscess)
While a tonsillectomy is considered a minor surgery, it’s still an invasive procedure. You’ll be put under general anesthetic, given painkillers, and monitored until you’re ready to go home. Most people are able to return home on the same day as their surgery, but you should schedule plenty of time off to recover.
Think you might need a tonsillectomy? Get a diagnosis and discuss the details by consulting with the team at SLENT. Get in touch by calling any of our locations, or visit the contact page for more information.