Each year, over 400,000 children undergo a tonsillectomy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the second most common childhood surgery. Parents typically schedule their child’s surgery during school breaks, including summer and holidays, to accommodate what has traditionally been a long and painful recovery. However, thanks to an advanced approach to tonsil removal, kids can spend more of their school vacation playing at the park, beach or lake with friends, rather than in bed and in pain.
About the Procedure
Coblation® Tonsillectomy utilizes a unique, low-temperature technology that has been clinically shown to speed a child’s return to normal activity and diet, and decrease pain, post-surgical narcotics use and the chance of rebleeding when compared to older, heat-based technologies such as electrocautery.
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2001, the technology combines radiofrequency energy with a saline solution, which gently and precisely removes tonsils without damaging healthy surrounding tissue. Electrocautery, another common tonsillectomy technology, applies heat of up to 650 degrees Celsius to remove tonsils, which can burn and scar tissue, causing a longer and more painful recovery.
“It’s a shame that many kids spend up to two weeks during their school breaks in bed and on pain medication recovering from their tonsillectomy, instead of enjoying their vacation,” said Dr. Yaremchuk from Henry Ford in Detroit, MI. “I’ve found that with this advanced technology, kids are back to normal activity and a normal diet as quickly as two or three days following the procedure.”
A Treatment for
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Tonsillectomy is generally assumed to be a treatment for infected tonsils. However, between 70 to 80 percent of tonsillectomies are performed because the child’s tonsils have grown too large for the airway, which could potentially lead to obstructive sleep apnea. This dangerous condition can cause snoring and breathing difficulties during sleep, which can lead to daytime fatigue or hyperactivity, as well as other problems associated with sleep deprivation.
“It is important that parents are aware of any signs of obstructive sleep apnea in their children and that they understand that there are newer options available for this extremely common procedure, which cause minimal discomfort for children,” explains Dr. Yaremchuk.