Paediatric Tonsillectomy, Adenotonsillectomy and Grommets
Helping your child to breathe and rest easier
If your child is suffering from a condition which affects their tonsils, adenoids or middle ear, it’s likely both you and they are experiencing countless sleepless nights due to frequent bouts of sickness. As they are lymphoid tissues, the tonsils and adenoids both play an important role in the immune system and its function.
Dr Gerarchi is able to alleviate many of the issues associated with these, allowing your child to overcome their seemingly constant illnesses.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu
The results you and your child deserve
The adenoid and tonsils are lymphoid tissues which sit at the rear and sides of your child’s throat. Generally adenoid tissue will disappear between the ages of 10 and 20. Together the tonsils and adenoids form part of the lymphatic system, helping your child to fight off infections while their immune system is still forming. However, if the tonsils and/or adenoids become swollen, it can lead to a range of problems ranging from difficulty eating to obstructive sleep apnoea.
By removing the adenoids and/or tonsils, it is possible to alleviate a range of complaints in children. Grommets to balance the middle ear may also be used in conjunction with these treatments. The procedure your child requires will depend on their unique circumstances. Dr Gerarchi will be able to advise you of the best treatment at your consultation.
A tonsillectomy is a procedure to remove the tonsils. This procedure may be recommended if; your child has experienced recurring infections in their tonsils causing them to miss school frequently, they are experiencing difficulty breathing and swallowing, are snoring or have sleep apnoea, or if they have a growth or abscess on their tonsils. Following this surgery, they should never experience tonsillitis again.
An adenoidectomy is a procedure to remove the adenoids. This may be recommended if your child has suffered from repeated infections of their adenoids, antibiotics have not proven successful in fighting a bacterial infection, or the adenoids are enlarged to the point where they are obstructing your child’s airway.
An adenotonsillectomy is a procedure to remove both the adenoids and tonsils. This may be recommended if they are experiencing infection or enlargement of both the tonsils and adenoids.
Grommets are tiny tubes which are inserted through the eardrum into the middle ear so normal atmospheric pressure can be achieved in this space. These may be used in conjunction with a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy, or they may be used as a completely independent treatment. The type of grommets required will depend on the circumstances; short to medium stay grommets normally last between 9 and 12 months, while long stay grommets may be fitted for several years. Some indicators your child may benefit from grommets include recurring middle ear infections, and persistent fluid in the middle ear.
Many children experience improved hearing following this procedure.
Meeting your child’s surgeon
During your child’s initial consultation, Dr Gerarchi will perform a thorough examination and assess their health history and unique circumstances to establish the best approach to address the symptoms they are presenting with. It is requested that both parents attend this consultation along with your child to ensure everyone understands the vital information you will be provided with about the procedure. Please bring any x-rays or other medical information you may have concerning your child’s condition to this consultation. Dr Gerarchi has a special interest in surgeries of this variety, and has extensive experience in the field. He will be able to advise you as to the best course of treatment for your child’s needs.
Your child’s surgical journey
The exact details of your child’s surgery will be dependent on the procedure chosen to address their unique needs. However, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy and adenotonsillectomy will all be performed under a general anaesthetsia, and your child will likely be kept in hospital for at least four hours, or overnight if it is required.
Grommets are generally performed as a day surgery under general anaesthesia, and many children are able to be discharged the same day as their procedure.
Your child’s recovery
Children will likely require about two weeks off school following a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy. Rest is recommended for five to seven days after surgery, and sports or swimming should be avoided for two weeks.
It is likely that your child will experience soreness in their throat for 10 to 14 days following surgery, with this pain potentially seeming to become worst about five or six days after. Your child may also experience ear pain for between a week and 10 days after an adenotonsillectomy. During this time it is also normal for them to experience bad breath, and you will probably notice white areas where the tonsils were removed. They are also likely to have bloodstained saliva and nasal discharge, or even bleeding. Vomiting is also common, though it should not continue for an extended period.
While it is likely to be uncomfortable, you should encourage your child to eat and drink as normally as possible; softer foods may help in the initial stages, but its recommended you avoid hot, acidic, or highly spiced foods and drinks. Fluids are of utmost importance during your child’s recovery to prevent a build-up of debris and clots at the site, and dehydration.
Recovery from grommets is generally quite rapid, and they can generally return to school the following day. You may even notice an immediate improvement in your child’s hearing.
Managing your child’s pain and recovery
Dr Gerarchi will provide you with guidance as to the best pain relief medication to use, such as paracetamol, but it is important that you not give them any medications which contain asprin. Your child may also be given an antibiotic following a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy to help expedite the healing process, and reduce pain and the chance of bleeding.
Generally there is not any pain associated with grommet insertion, though you may notice your child seems a little unsettled immediately afterwards. Your child may experience some discharge from their ears following grommets; normally this will not be painful, and can be treated with ear drops.
Your child’s post-surgical journey
Following the removal of your child’s tonsils, they should never again experience tonsillitis. A tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy should also alleviate most of their breathing symptoms.
In some cases, grommets may block; this can be cleared using ear drops. A small number of children’s grommets may not naturally come out within three years of insertion; in these cases, they may need a further general anaesthesia to remove them. Some children may also require a further set of grommets. It is important that you attend follow-up consultations to ensure Dr Gerarchi can re-assess your child and take the appropriate steps for their circumstances.
If you would like to request a consultation with Dr Gerarchi to estabilish if a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, adenotonsillectomy or grommets could help you child, or you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.