Shrinking Rather Than Removing the Tonsils
In November’s blog we addressed tonsillectomies. While they were commonplace in the 1950, 67s, and 70s when children developed tonsillitis more than occasionally, today, ENT specialists like Dr. Volpi only resort to full removal of the tonsils when necessary. It’s no longer a go-to procedure. Plus, in adult patients tonsillectomies are no walk in the park.
Instead, it can often be better to downsize the tonsils without fully removing them. Dr. Volpi does this at eos Sleep with laser tonsil ablation.
Enlarged tonsils get in the way
When a person has tonsillitis, the tonsils (located on the sides of the back of the mouth just behind the soft palate) become enlarged. Other people have tonsils that are naturally larger than normal. An adult tonsillectomy may be considered because the enlarged tonsils are causing issues with breathing and sleep apnea. But tonsillectomies are more difficult for adults than kids.
The surgery takes longer; there’s more post-operative bleeding; adults experience more pain than children; and the chances of complications such as infection are much higher in adults.
That’s why Dr. Volpi often uses laser tonsil ablation rather than tonsillectomy in adults.
How does Dr. Volpi perform a laser tonsil ablation?
During a regular tonsillectomy, a scalpel or other tool is used to completely remove the tonsils. During a laser tonsil ablation, laser energy is used to reduce the tonsils as much as possible by vaporizing the outer surface of the tonsils. The goal is to shrink the tonsils, and laser ablation does this. This can result in a significant difference in the amount of obstruction the tonsils may be causing. Plus, the laser energy can also be used to remove infection.
Because there aren’t any incisions that need to heal, recovery after laser tonsil ablation is quite different than from an adult tonsillectomy. These are minimally invasive procedures, rather than full surgery. Recovery time is dramatically different with most patients back to eating normal food in just a day or two.
Would laser tonsil ablation be right for me?
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea or suffer from severe snoring, and Dr. Volpi feels your large tonsils are at least partially to blame for your breathing issues, laser tonsil ablation could be a great approach. It is also appropriate for patients who suffer from chronic tonsil infections or tonsil stones.
Are you an adult with obstructive sleep apnea or chronic tonsillitis? Give Dr. Volpi a call at eos Sleep, 212-873-6036, to set up a consultation. Laser tonsil ablation could be the path to take.