The tonsils are the watchtowers of our immune system. They react to invading germs and, with inflammation, give the alarm that antibodies have to be produced. The tonsils then swell and may fester. Viruses and bacteria can cause inflammation. Bacteria can be detected by swabs. Symptoms of a bacterial infection are:
- Fever over 38 degrees Celsius
- swollen, painful neck lymph nodes
- purulent tonsils
- no cough
When a tonsillectomy may be necessary
If antibiotic therapies for bacterial infections only help for a short time and if the inflammation occurs again and again, surgical removal of the tonsils may be necessary. Five to seven purulent inflammations per year are considered an indication for tonsillectomy. Because if the inflammation in the throat area spreads further, abscesses can form so that the mouth can no longer be opened and swallowing becomes impossible. If the pus no longer drains, tonsillitis can become life-threatening in rare cases: blood poisoning, meningitis or the risk of suffocation are possible consequences.
What to consider after tonsillectomy
The tonsillectomy is a short operation of 20 to 30 minutes – the most common intervention in the ear, nose and throat area. The two almonds are peeled from the palate. The operation is performed under general anesthesia – in adults also rarely under local anesthesia – on an outpatient or inpatient basis. The wound is not stitched and takes several days to heal. In order not to irritate the open wound are forbidden:
- carbonic acid
- fruit juices
- sour fruit
- hot or hard foods.
You also have to avoid anything that can increase blood pressure in your head, such as warm water or bending over when showering – because this can quickly lead to severe bleeding or wound infection.
To speed up healing, doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluids and rinsing your mouth with sage or chamomile tea several times a day.
Removing tonsils: risks and complications
The first days after tonsillectomy are not pleasant: pain, Difficulty swallowing, sometimes also nausea, vomiting and taste disturbances last for one to two weeks in some cases – there is also a risk of secondary bleeding. Even after the tonsils have been completely removed, inflammation of the throat can still occur. However, those affected are less likely to suffer from sore throats after a tonsillectomy. Whether removing the tonsils weakens the immune system and increases the risk of respiratory infections has not yet been proven. For the immune system, however, the almonds are more important in children.
After surgery: leftover tonsils can cause inflammation
In the past, tonsil removal was often performed more hastily and residues of the tonsil remained in the palate, which can still cause problems decades later. If severe, stabbing sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and a sore feeling in the mouth and throat occur, these residues must be surgically removed.
expert on the subject