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A tonsillectomy is surgery to remove the tonsils from the back of your mouth. Sometimes the adenoids are also removed with the tonsils, depending on the reason for the surgery. The decision to undergo a tonsillectomy is not to be taken lightly. Adults have a far slower recovery time than children. Also, it is thought that tonsils may play a role in the body's immune system.
There are three main types of tonsillectomies. Cauterization is when the tonsils are burned out. Another method is to cut the tonsils out with a scalpel or wire-saw loop and then stitch up the incisions. Another method is called electrocauterization, where the tonsils are removed with a scalpel, but instead of stitches, burning is used to seal up the wounds. Laser surgery is the newest method, but it is controversial due to the close spaces and proximity of the easily damaged throat.
There are several reasons why an adult would have a tonsillectomy. The first is a birth defect or if the tonsil has grown too big for the body to be able to breathe, sleep or swallow easily. Another reason is that the tonsils get infected seemingly all of the time and the patient's body needs a rest from the constant bouts of tonsillitis. Another common reason is that the patient has developed a peritonsilliar abscess right next to the tonsils, which can come about from severe tonsillitis.
Tonsils and adenoids can grow back if (and only if) the surgeon manages to leave even a tiny part of tonsil or adenoid tissue in your body. Tonsil tissue and adenoid tissue are made up of the same stuff of skin, which can grow back if injured or removed. However, the chances of your tonsils growing back are slim. Even if new ones grow back, they may not bother you and so you won't have to get them removed.
Recovery time from an adult tonsillectomy is anywhere from two to six weeks. You will have to take at least one full week off of work after the surgery. You will not be able to eat solid foods for at least two weeks, depending on the pain and your doctor's orders. The surgery itself is considered an all-day procedure, but most patients are out of the hospital as soon as they regain consciousness. Usually, antibiotics and painkillers are prescribed.
Get someone else to take you to and from the hospital for your surgery or arrange for a taxi. You will be so doped up that it will be dangerous for you to drive.