16 September 2015
The tonsils are lumps of tissue that lie at the back of the throat. They play a part in fighting infection, but they are not essential to a person’s health and well being.
The operation performed to remove the tonsils is called a tonsillectomy, which can cure a number of conditions from repetitive painful sore throats, to tonsil stones (quite common), bad taste, unpleasant breath and surprisingly, snoring.
Getting a referral for a tonsillectomy can be difficult, as GPs are required to follow strict NHS guidelines. For example, a patient must have over six documented episodes of tonsillitis in a year before being referred via the NHS.
This means a patient will need to visit their GP on six separate occasions and often by the time they see their doctor the condition has settled. Patients who are experiencing five attacks lasting two weeks each time are still suffering and are unable to have a tonsillectomy.
At Spire Roding Hospital we don’t always require a letter from a GP for the patient to see a specialist ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant. By taking a detailed history from the patient, and carrying out a thorough examination, surgeons can usually tell if a tonsillectomy is required.
Pain, and sometimes excessive bleeding, can be unfortunate and unwanted complications of the traditional tonsillectomy usually performed. At Spire Roding Hospital, we have a new state of the art laser system, which allows tonsils to be vapourised away by lasers, protecting the delicate muscles and blood vessels of the throat.
Mr Mike Dilkes, consultant ENT surgeon, performs laser tonsillectomy procedures at Spire Roding Hospital.
Laser tonsillectomy is performed as a day-case so patients can usually go home within six hours after the operation.
In a recent audit at Spire Roding, all patients who had tonsillectomies carried out using the laser system did not suffer any bleeding after the operation, they were not required to stay overnight and most importantly, nobody was re-admitted with severe pain.
The cost of this new technique is about the same as the traditional tonsillectomy. In addition to this the patients can also benefit from a speedier recovery, with only a few days off work or school.