Tonsillitis in Singapore: Causes & Treatments for Tonsil Removal

Frequent Tonsil Infection (Recurrent Tonsillitis)

What Is Frequent Tonsil Infection (Recurrent Tonsillitis)?

Tonsils are two oval-shaped clusters of tissues located at the back of your throat (left and right tonsils) (Figure 1). They are part of your immune system that protects you against infection and illness. However, their role is relatively minor compared to primary components like the lymphatic system, bone marrow, spleen, and thymus.

A tonsil infection typically presents symptoms such as severe sore throat, painful swallowing, fever, and occasionally difficulty eating or swallowing. They usually last longer than 5 days, and treatment involves adequate rest, hydration, antibiotics (in cases of bacterial tonsillitis), pain relievers, mouth gargling, and lozenges.

When Should You Consider Tonsil Removal Surgery

Tonsillectomy, or tonsil removal surgery, is an option when severe tonsil infections frequently disrupt daily life, including significant time off work or hospitalisation, and when symptoms persist despite non-surgical treatments. In such instances, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy:

  • Frequent, recurring episodes of tonsillitis
  • Recurrent tonsil stones, indicative of chronic tonsil infection
  • Pain on one side of the throat
  • Sleep apnea
  • Breathing difficulties due to swollen or enlarged tonsils
  • Embedded foreign body in the tonsil
  • Severe tonsillitis complications, like neck abscess or quinsy (peritonsillar abscess)

These symptoms can indicate the need for a consultation with an ENT specialist in Singapore to discuss the potential benefits of tonsil removal surgery.

Normal versus inflamed tonsil conditions.

How Tonsil Removal Surgery Works

Tonsil removal surgery, or tonsillectomy, involves a structured approach starting from initial consultation to post-operative care. Initially, an ENT specialist will assess your medical history and symptoms to confirm the diagnosis. This step may include a physical examination of the throat and possibly imaging tests or throat cultures to understand the severity and frequency of tonsil infections.

Following diagnosis, the doctor will discuss the surgical plan, detailing the procedure, expected outcomes, and potential risks. The surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia, with the ENT surgeon removing the tonsils through the mouth, ensuring minimal discomfort and no external scarring.

After the surgery, comprehensive post-operative care is essential for a smooth recovery. This includes pain management, dietary adjustments, and guidelines to prevent complications. Regular follow-up visits will monitor healing and address any concerns, ensuring a return to normal activities as safely and quickly as possible.

Risks of Tonsil Removal Surgery

Tonsillectomy is widely regarded as a safe procedure with a low rate of complications, ensuring that removal of the tonsils neither weakens the immune system nor increases susceptibility to infections. While the risks are minimal, it’s important to be aware of potential complications, as with any surgical procedure:

  • Reactions to Anesthesia: Minor, short-term reactions like headache, nausea, vomiting, or muscle soreness may occur, though long-term severe effects are rare. The risk of death from general anaesthesia is low.
  • Swelling: Post-operative swelling of the tongue and soft palate may occur, particularly in the initial hours, potentially causing breathing difficulties.
  • Bleeding During Surgery: On rare occasions, significant bleeding during the procedure may necessitate further intervention and extend the hospital stay.
  • Bleeding During Healing: Bleeding can occur during the healing phase, especially if the wound’s scab is dislodged prematurely.
  • Infection: Surgery might lead to infections in rare cases, requiring additional treatment.

These risks underscore the importance of discussing any concerns with your ENT specialist, who can provide detailed information and guidance tailored to your situation.

Meet Our ENT Tonsillectomy Specialist in Singapore

Dr Gan is a specialist with vast experience in the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) field. He is renowned for his in-depth expertise and dedicated approach to addressing complex ear, nose, and throat conditions, including snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). With a focused specialisation in tonsil-related issues, Dr Gan utilises cutting-edge methods to address these conditions effectively. His dedication to patient care is demonstrated through tailor-made treatment plans to relieve symptoms and tackle the underlying causes of tonsil-related ailments. Leveraging his broad experience, Dr Gan provides patients with thorough support and advice, guiding them towards improved health.

Common Ear, Nose, and Throat Conditions

Allergy, Nose & SinusSnoring & OSAChildren’s ENTEar & BalanceThroat & VoiceHead & Neck
AllergiesSnoringSymptoms in childrenHearing issuesTonsilsEar, nose and throat overlaps
Sinus issuesObstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)Fever and irritabilityBalance problemsUpper oesophagusOral cavity to salivary glands
Nasal obstructionsLearning or speech delaysEar conditions affecting body balanceTrachea and larynx issuesThyroid, glands, muscles, nerves
Recurrent colds or fluConditions affecting food and air passageSkin and soft tissue conditions

Dr Gan provides a comprehensive management in a broad array of Ear, Nose and Throat as well as Head & Neck conditions. He has a special interest in treating various nose and sinus conditions including snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

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