‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on 26 September 2012, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
“Dear Gatwick Park, my child is having difficulty swallowing, has obstructed breathing during sleep, he has had two attacks of tonsillitis this year already! I don’t know what to do, I have given him courses of antibiotics – but it keeps coming back. Can he have a tonsillectomy? What does the surgery involve? How long will he need out of school for recovery? What about post-surgery, will there be bleeding from the mouth or any scars? Can he eat and drink as normal? How long after would he need a follow-up appointment?” Yasmin, Crawley.
Mr Kemal Bevan consultant ENT surgeon says, "Like every operation there has to be a clear indication as to why removal of tonsils would be advisable. Some practitioners have strict criteria as to number of episodes of tonsillitis per year before they refer. However it is more beneficial to consider each case with its own merit. In your child’s case it appears the tonsillar tissue is large enough to cause difficulty in eating but also disturbed sleep in the form of sleep apnoea. If your child has a tendency being tired during the day and lacking energy then it is advisable to see your GP seeking his advice and likely referral to an ENT specialist.
Tonsillectomy can be done as a day case discharged home after a 6 hour observation ensuring there is no bleeding and that your child is able to eat and drink. It is advised for your child to be off school for 2 weeks and return for a check-up within 3 weeks. There should be no visible scars and secondary bleed can occur within 10 days, usually triggered off by infection. I hope this has helped Yasmin, please do not hesitate to call the hospital for further information or to book an appointment."