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Tonsillitis - Surgery

Tonsillectomy for tonsillitis is generally used for children who have serious complications or recurrent infections that do not respond to other treatment, especially when they interfere with daily life. But tonsillectomy should only be done after you and your doctor carefully consider your child's medical history and overall health.

Researchers in a recent study concluded that tonsillectomy may be no better than watchful waiting for children who have mild symptoms, which was defined as tonsillitis occurring fewer than 3 times a year.2

But for some children, tonsillectomy can greatly improve their quality of life. Children who are most likely to benefit from tonsillectomy are those who have:

  • 7 or more episodes of tonsillitis in 1 year, or 5 or more episodes a year for the past 2 years, or 3 or more episodes a year for the past 3 years. Tonsillectomy is more likely to be considered as treatment when some of these episodes result in missing school, trouble sleeping, or having other problems with normal daily life.2
  • Tonsillitis lasting longer than 3 months, despite medicine.
  • Obstructed air passages.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Difficulty talking because of nasal obstruction.
  • Tonsils that bleed heavily.

Surgery choices

Tonsillectomy for strep throat may be done in cases of recurring tonsillitis that do not respond to antibiotics or if an infection threatens the child's well-being.

Tonsillitis: Should My Child Have a Tonsillectomy?

What to think about

Tonsillectomy is still the most common major surgical procedure done on children in the United States. But it is not done as often as it was in the past.

Upper respiratory infections and tonsillitis usually occur less frequently as a child gets older. Consider whether your child's tonsillitis infections are manageable until you can wait to see if he or she outgrows them.

A child who has tonsillectomy will need special care and close monitoring for at least a week after the surgery. Consider your ability to provide this care for your child before deciding on tonsillectomy.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 30, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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