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When Should You Remove Tonsils?

5 Signs Your Child's Tonsils Should Be Removed

Today, doctors are very cautious about recommending removal of the tonsils and adenoid because of throat infections. Still, as the American Academy of Pediatrics shares, the following conditions may lead your pediatrician to recommend a tonsillectomy and/or removal of the adenoid.

  1. Breathing problems. Swollen tonsils and an enlarged adenoid can cause a variety of breathing problems, including sleep apnea. If your child has sleep apnea, snores loudly, breathes loudly, or breathes mostly through the mouth instead of the nose, then your pediatrician may recommend removing his tonsils and/or adenoid.
  2. Recurring ear or sinus infections. Does your child have frequent sinus or ear infections? A swollen adenoid may be the root of the problem. In this case, your pediatrician may recommend surgery to remove only the adenoid.
  3. Speech distortion. An enlarged adenoid can also alter a child's speech. If your child has a speech distortion, then your pediatrician may check whether the adenoid is enlarged and make recommendations accordingly.
  4. Frequent sore throats or strep throat. While removing the tonsils and adenoid is much less common than it used to be, pediatricians will sometimes recommend these procedures if a child has an excessive number of sore throats and infections such as strep throat. The Academy of Otolaryngology "recommends a cautious approach for children who have had fewer than seven infections during the past year, fewer than five per year over the past two years, and fewer than three annually over the past three years."
  5. Lymph nodes stay swollen. One more sign your child may need surgery is if the lymph nodes underneath the lower jaw remain swollen for at least six months, even with antibiotic treatment.

The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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