Tonsils and Adenoids

Tonsils and adenoids are masses of tissue that are similar to the lymph nodes or glands found in the neck. Tonsils are the two masses on the back of the throat. Adenoids are high in the throat behind the nose and the roof of the mouth (soft palate) and are not visible through the mouth without special instruments or X-ray. The most common problems affecting the tonsils and adenoids are recurrent infections (throat or ear) and significant enlargement or obstruction that cause breathing and swallowing problems. Abscesses around the tonsils, chronic tonsillitis, and infections of small pockets within the tonsils that produce foul-smelling, cheese-like formations can also affect the tonsils and adenoids, making them sore and swollen. Tumors are rare, but can grow on the tonsils. For the right indications, removal of the tonsils and adenoids can improve quality of life and prevent long-term health problems.

When medically necessary, tonsils are removed by Coblation™, which takes just 15 minutes and does not require hospitalization. Performed as an outpatient procedure, Coblation is the process of surgically dissolving tissue using radiofrequency. No post operative pain is expected after adenoidectomy but a week of sore throat should be expected after tonsillectomy. Coblation seems to reduce postoperative pain by 50 percent. Antibiotics, liquid pain medication, and a soft diet are recommended.

Tonsillitis and its Symptoms

Tonsillitis is an infection in one or both tonsils. One sign is swelling of the tonsils. Other signs or symptoms are:

  • Abnormally red tonsils
  • A white or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • A slight voice change due to swelling
  • Sore throat
  • Uncomfortable or painful swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck
  • Fever
  • Bad breath

Enlarged Adenoids and Their Symptoms

If you or your child's adenoids are enlarged, it may be hard to breathe through the nose. Other signs of persistent enlargement are:

  • Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose most of the time
  • Nose sounds "blocked" when the person speaks
  • Noisy breathing during the day
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Snoring
  • Breathing stops for a few seconds at night during snoring or loud breathing (sleep apnea)

For more information about tonsillectomy, Dr. Michael Pickford or Gwinnett ENT, please call us at 678-312-7390.