The Recovery Process
It typically takes about two weeks for both children and adults to make a full recovery after a tonsillectomy. You may feel tired and easily fatigued for the first few days after surgery. Other symptoms such as ear and throat pain are common and can last up to two weeks. If you find that your symptoms are getting worse or aren’t improving after 4-5 days, you should speak with your ENT doctor.
Get Pain Under Control
Pain management is an important topic for our patients undergoing a tonsillectomy, as the pain that proceeds from this surgery can be pretty intense in the very beginning. Your ENT doctor will provide you with a strong pain reliever to help ease discomfort during the first few days. You may switch to ibuprofen if your pain is starting to lessen; however, it’s important to avoid aspirin for at least two weeks after your tonsillectomy.
It is very important that you stay hydrated and drink a lot of fluids. A good rule of thumb is to consume one cup of water an hour. If your urine is pale in color, this is a sign that you are drinking enough water. While you can eat what you want after your surgery, you may not feel very hungry at first. Don’t worry, your appetite will return after a couple of days.
Your Diet Post-Tonsillectomy
Most people worry about what they can and can’t eat post-surgery but the answer is, anything you want. You can’t hurt your throat by eating certain foods; however, you may want to ease back into your diet by starting with soft foods such as yogurt, rice, mashed potatoes, and ice pops.
Give Yourself Time to Rest
Most people will feel too fatigued to go about their normal activities. Most children will return to school within a week and resume full activities within two weeks. Most adults can return to work within 10 days after a tonsillectomy. You will want to rest as much as possible and avoid most activities for at least the first 48 hours after your surgery.
If you have any concerns about your upcoming tonsillectomy, or you have questions about your at-home instructions after you return home, know that your ENT doctor is always here to provide you with the answers, care, and support you need. Don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns you might have while you heal from your tonsillectomy.
What is Cholesteatoma?
Cholesteatoma occurs when a large collection of skin cells occur deep within the ear. This growth of skin is where cholesteatoma gets its name, toma being the word for swelling or tumor. Fortunately, cholesteatoma presents as a non-cancerous cyst.
Cholesteatoma can be either genetic, known as congenital cholesteatoma, or develop later in life, known as acquired cholesteatoma. Both are caused by keratinizing cells in the temporal bone. Abnormal growths usually present in the middle ear behind the eardrum.
Signs and Symptoms
A cholesteatoma usually only affects one ear.
- Fluid drainage in the ear
- Foul-smelling drainage
- Feeling pressure or fullness in the ear
- Hearing loss
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the face
Developing congenital cholesteatoma is incredibly rare. However, it is possible to acquire it in adulthood.
- Re-occurring middle ear infections
- Poor eustachian tube function
- Being of Caucasian descent (incidence is rarest in Indian Asians)
- Being born with craniofacial syndromes such as cleft lip
A doctor will take a look inside your ear using an otoscope to determine if you have cholesteatoma. They can see the cholesteatoma, which often looks like a cyst made of skin cells or a mass of blood vessels.
If the cholesteatoma is too small to be detected, a CT scan may be ordered.
What are the Treatment Options?
Treatment for cholesteatoma often involves surgery for severe cases. However, if caught early, it can be treated through a round of antibiotics, ear drops, and cleaning your ear carefully.
The goal of the treatment is to reduce the chances of an infection occurring, reduce inflammation, and drain the ear of the cyst.
What If It Goes Untreated?
Surgery is perhaps the best way to treat cholesteatomas that won't go away, which is, unfortunately, quite common. Cholesteatomas tend to grow bigger and can eventually lead to:
- Destruction of surrounding tissues and bones
- Permanent facial nerve damage, including numbness
- Severe infections such as meningitis (although rare)
- Chronic ear infections
- Swelling of the inner ear
Practice Good Hygiene
Some ear infections occur as a result of a cold or flu, so it’s important that you protect yourself from viral infections to reduce your risk for an ear infection, too. This means practicing proper handwashing, avoiding those who are sick, and not touching your mouth or face.
Find Allergy Relief
Allergies can also cause some serious issues. If you find yourself getting ear infections around the wintertime this could be the result of allergies. To prevent swelling of the Eustachian tubes you should find an allergy nasal spray that can better control your symptoms and
Get the Flu Shot
As we mentioned above, getting the flu can also lead to an ear infection. So if you are someone who notoriously finds themselves battling an ear infection after the flu, the best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get the flu shot. The flu shot should be administered each year to those 6 months and older.
Avoid Cigarette Smoke
Smoking can also cause the Eustachian tubes of the ears to swell. This is why you should quit smoking if you currently smoke. It’s also particularly important for newborns and young children to avoid any environmental pollutants or smoky areas, as they are already particularly susceptible to ear infections and these environments can make it worse.
Breastfeed Your Newborn
Since children under 3 years old are particularly vulnerable to ear infections, one of the best ways to protect them is to breastfeed them. This is because breastmilk contains antibodies that can protect the baby from infections, including ear infections. It is recommended that women breastfeed their baby for at least the first six months, but can continue to breastfeed as long as they want.
If you are dealing with recurring or severe ear infections it’s always best to play it safe and to see a qualified ENT professional for an evaluation. Recurring ear infections can be a sign that something more is going on and warrants having it checked out.
It’s important to look to your environment and your lifestyle for clues as to what’s going on. For one, if you were out singing or talking in a loud club the night before you may have simply strained your vocal cords. If you have seasonal allergies such as hay fever, you may notice that you wake up with persistent scratchy or sore throats several months out of the year. If your bedroom is particularly dry, especially during the colder months, this could be another reason you wake up with sore throats.
There are a host of infections that also cause sore throats; however, they are often short-lived and don’t persist for more than 10 days. Viral infections are often to blame, and they will go away without treatment (antibiotics will not be effective against the common cold or influenza virus). People who deal with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often complain of a scratchy or sore throat. If you are also dealing with heartburn or acid reflux two or more times a week, this could be the culprit.
- Waking up with a sore throat
- Persistent morning headaches
- Waking up tired despite a full night’s sleep
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Increased mood swings
- Trouble concentrating and poor memory
If you experience recurring or persistent sore throats it’s always a good idea to see your ENT doctor for a proper diagnosis so you know how to best treat your symptoms. Since some infections such as strep can be dangerous to both kids and adults, it’s important to know when to come in for treatment.
- You should see an ENT doctor right away if:
- You are having trouble swallowing or breathing
- You have extremely painful or swollen lymph nodes
- Your sore throat is accompanied by a high fever
- Your sore throat persists for more than a week
- You have trouble sleeping due to swallowing or breathing issues
What are the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps are typically to blame for chronic inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavity. People with nasal polyps may not realize that they have them, but they may be more likely to deal with other problems such as chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis and other nasal issues are typically what bring people into our ENT practice in the first place. From there, we can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to see if you could be dealing with nasal polyps.
Other warning signs include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Decreased sense of smell
- Loss of smell or taste
- Referred pain in the upper teeth
- Facial pressure and pain
- Recurring nosebleeds
If you are dealing with nasal symptoms that last more than 10 days, then it’s a good idea to see your otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on. After all, these symptoms can also be caused by other respiratory conditions that may require treatment or special care, and it’s important to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms so we know how to best treat them.
How are nasal polyps treated?
Medication is typically the first line of treatment for managing symptoms of nasal polyps. The most commonly prescribed medications include:
- Antileukotrienes to reduce inflammation
If you are battling symptoms of chronic sinusitis, you could actually be dealing with nasal polyps. Any sinus or nasal symptoms that last for weeks on end should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.
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