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Anyone Had Their Tonsils Removed?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:28 am

So, I may have to have this done. Anyone actually had the procedure done? How bad is it and should I go under for it? I took the gas for the wisdom teeth and I'm glad I did. For the pilots in here, how long until I should be able to fly again?
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RE: Anyone Had Their Tonsils Removed?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:44 am

I had it done. They were getting in the way and AA61hvy was complaining.

Signed, KROC
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RE: Anyone Had Their Tonsils Removed?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:53 am

Um, I would expect to go under for it. I had them removed way back when I was 9 or so, along with several adnoids. Apparently my orthodontist said I was sleeping with my mouth open because I couldn't breathe trhough my nose and it was affecting my jaw or something.

I stayed in the hospital overnight after the surgery. I don't know of any 9 year old pilots so I don't know when you could fly again, although there's no pain really, except for a sore throat afterwards and the next day you feel fine.

Incidentally, I need to have my wisdom teeth out, but I always have to try and find a time to get them out when it won't affect my playing in band, either in the Famous Maroon Band or the MSU wind ensemble.
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RE: Anyone Had Their Tonsils Removed?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:59 am

i had mine done back when i was like 2-3 years old, along with my adenoids. I guess they put tubes in my ears too. They did it because I kept on getting really bad ear infections. After they took em out i was fine.
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RE: Anyone Had Their Tonsils Removed?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:34 am

Local anesthesia has far less risks, but I personally would probably choose general anesthesia. I would also recommend that you have the procedure done in a hospital rather than an outpatient clinic setting (unless the clinic was adjacent to or part of a larger hospital.)

It's usually an uncomplicated procedure, but there can be some bleeding and you'll have to have your mouth open wide just as when you had your wisdom teeth removed. Also, they may want to have a look at your adenoids, which are higher up behind your nose. When children have the tonsillectomy the surgeon commonly removes the adenoids as well.

In any case, even if you were having it done under local anesthesia with sedation, they would probably give you Versed or something that would wipe out your memory of the procedure.

Good luck!
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RE: Anyone Had Their Tonsils Removed?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:59 am

I had my tonsils removed when I was 8, which is about 50 years ago. I do remember throwing up once or twice..that could have been from the gas (ether) or I may have swallowed some blood. I also remember eating nothing but popsicles for about a day.

One good thing about tonsils........they never grow back.  Smile
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RE: Anyone Had Their Tonsils Removed?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 11:50 am

Funny...I just observed a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy today. Depending on the speed (and age/experience) of your ENT surgeon, the actual procedure could take anywhere from 20-40 minutes (closer to 20). With the anesthesia and prep time, they usually block an hour or sometimes two depending on your hospital.

Generally, you are put to sleep and a breathing tube is placed into your trachea (the breathing pipe) and a machine is used to assist your breathing. This is done to keep blood and other secretions from seeping into your lungs during the procedure. Then, the adenoids and tonsils are surgically removed. This part is really quick. The surgeon then looks around and makes sure that there is no bleeding as these are VERY vascular areas. Once he/she is convinced that there is no bleeding, you're woken up a bit, the breathing tube is removed once you're breathing on your own (the drugs are amnestic and will keep you from remembering this), the breathing tube is taken out and you'll be taken to the recovery room.

In the recovery room (now known as PACU, Post Anesthesia Care Unit), you are allowed to fully recover from the anesthesia. You are given pain medicine (typically intravenous narcotics like morphine) to help you out. Once you are able to tolerate something to drink, you'll be free to go home. You generally get a prescription for an oral narcotic (usually Tylenol with codeine or percocet or one of their derivatives) to relieve the post-op pain.

The largest complications are nausea/vomiting after the procedure and bleeding from the surgical site.

As far as returning to flying, you'll have to talk to your family doctor or ENT surgeon, but I would NOT recommend flying until 24 hours after you've taken your last dose of your oral narcotic. In addition, if you're still not feeling 100% 24 hours after your last dose of oral pain meds, I wouldn't fly until you did.

Hope this helps. Things may be different from how I've described because I am an Emergency Medicine doc, not an ENT. As always, you should really direct these types of questions to your surgeon and/or Anesthesiologist.

Happy Flying!
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