Adenoidectomy is a very common throat operation in which the adenoids are surgically removed. Adenoids are masses of lymph tissue in the back of the throat that work with the tonsils and immune system early in life to defend the body against invading bacteria and viruses.
Occasionally the adenoids become infected and, after repeated infections, enlarged, causing breathing and swallowing problems such as snoring, disturbed sleep, chronic mouth breathing (possibly resulting in deformations of the face and mouth), ear infections and hearing loss. Signs that you or your child may have enlarged adenoids include:
- Breathing through the mouth rather than the nose
- “Blocked”-sounding nose when speaking
- Frequent ear infection
- Noisy breathing
- Sleep apnea (frequent pauses in breathing at night)
The first stage of treatment for chronic adenoid enlargement is a course of antibiotics or steroids. If this fails to resolve the problem, the adenoids may be removed. Removal may also be recommended for patients with chronic ear infections, tumors or difficulty breathing.
Adenoidectomy requires local or general anesthesia and patients are released a few hours or the morning after surgery.
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Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)
There are many possible causes for a person to suffer difficulty or pain when swallowing food or liquid. The most common causes include:
- Conditions that narrow the esophagus – Sore, swollen or infected throat; esophageal strictures caused by lodged pills or other objects; gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn); tumors or cancers.
- Conditions that compress the esophagus from the outside – Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland); tumors, cancers or other abnormalities of the throat, larynx, spine and neck.
- Dry mouth – Sjogren syndrome, nerve or brain damage, medication side-effects.
- Muscle weakness – Autoimmune or nerve disorders; nerve or brain damage such as ALS or stroke.
Patients with dysphagia will be asked about the exact sensations they feel when swallowing; how quickly the problem appeared and how long it has been occurring; whether they are taking any medications that could cause these side-effects; what other symptoms they are experiencing, if any; and whether there is a family history of such problems. If a physical exam is not enough to make a diagnosis, other tests may be ordered such as X-rays of the upper GI tract or brain, endoscopy of the esophagus and stomach, or blood sampling.
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Tonsillectomy, or removal of the tonsils, is one of the most common throat operations. The tonsils are masses of lymph tissue in the back of the throat. They work with the adenoids and immune system early in life to defend the body against invading bacteria and viruses.
Sometimes the tonsils become infected, abscessed or enlarged, leading to any of a variety of symptoms including sore throat, fever, ear infections, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Surgery is recommended when more conservative treatments such as antibiotics or steroids fail to relieve symptoms, or when patients have frequent infections or difficulty breathing. There are a variety of methods used, including traditional surgery, microcautery and radiofrequency ablation. Tonsillectomy may be performed with local or general anesthesia.
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As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid glands help regulate the body's metabolism. Sometimes the thyroids produce too many (hyperthyroidism) or too few (hypothyroidism) hormones, disrupting this balance. Thyroidectomy surgery removes the glands or reduces their size to retain proper hormone distribution when medication proves insufficient.
Surgery may be beneficial for patients with:
- Hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis
- Hypothyroidism with enlargement (hypertrophy) of the gland
- Thyroid cancer
- Nontoxic goiter
- Hashimoto's disease (a type of hypothyroidism)
Patients whose thyroid problems are unresponsive to drugs and who do not want radioactive iodine treatment may also want to consider surgery.
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Inflammation of the voice box from the common cold, bronchitis, overuse of the voice, allergies or irritants.
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