Tonsillectomy FAQ

Do you have tonsillectomy questions? Well we’ve got answers! Browse the questions below to get answers to some of the most common questions about tonsillectomy! From the cost of a tonsillectomy to tonsillectomy recovery!

Q: What is a tonsillectomy?

A: A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that is generally used to treat infected tonsils. Tonsillectomies can also be used to help alleviate breathing problems such as sleep apnea.

Q: How much does a tonsillectomy cost?

A: According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the average cost of a tonsillectomy is $5,442 USD. Luckily, most tonsillectomies are covered by health insurance if they’re deemed necessary by your physician.

Q: What are the risks of a tonsillectomy?

A: The primary risk of a tonsillectomy is bleeding. Approximately 1% of patients will experience bleeding to the extent that they need medical treatment to control it. Other risks include infection, dehydration, and prolonged pain.

Q: How can I prepare for a tonsillectomy?

A: In preparation for a tonsillectomy you should arrange for someone to take you to and pick you up from the surgical facility. In some instances the patient may need someone to be prepared to spend the first night after the surgery with them. It is also recommended that you do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin. As with any surgery, consult your physician prior to the procedure if you are taking any medications.

Q: What can I expect during a tonsillectomy?

A: During a tonsillectomy an anesthesiologist will administer a general anesthetic and the surgical team will closely monitor your oxygen saturation and heart rate. After the anesthetic has taken effect, your physician will remove your tonsils (sometimes you adenoids as well) through your mouth. The entire procedure typically takes no more than an hour.

Q: What is the recovery time for a tonsillectomy?

A: The recovery time for adults is generally longer than that of children. Whereas children can expect to return to their normal activities within5-7 days, most adults can take up to two weeks. It is recommended that you try and drink plenty of non-acidic fluids or eat popsicles during the recovery period to prevent dehydration. Your doctor will also likely recommend soft foods such as pudding and ice cream since they provide your body with essential nutrients. Hot, spicy, and coarse foods should be avoided after the surgery because they could affect the healing process of the throat.

Q: What can I expect after a tonsillectomy?

A: Immediately after a tonsillectomy, minimal pain can be expected. Over the next few days, you may notice that the pain increases. You may also notice white patches in the back of your throat where your tonsils used to be — these are just scabs which will disappear when the healing process is complete.

Q: What are the alternatives to a tonsillectomy?

A: Other than antibiotics to treat tonsillitis, there really aren’t any alternatives to a tonsillectomy.

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