Deciding When To Remove Your Child’s Tonsils

Caring for your child often means making important medical decisions on his or her behalf. Many young children have their tonsils removed. Although a tonsillectomy is considered a routine procedure, there are always risks involved when a child is placed under anesthesia.

Here are three tips that you can use when trying to determine if it's time to have your child's tonsils removed in the future.

1. Monitor your child's sleep.

One simple way that you can determine if your child needs to have his or her tonsils removed is to monitor sleep patterns over an extended period of time. Some children have tonsils that are larger than they should be, and this can cause the tonsil tissue to fall to the back of the throat when your child is in a prone position, restricting some of the flow of air during sleep. If you notice that your child begins to develop a snore that worsens over time, removing his or her tonsils could help contribute to more restful sleep.

2. Track throat infections.

While it isn't abnormal for children to develop infections, as they are exposed to bacteria and viruses through social interaction, chronic throat infections could be cause for concern. The tonsils are designed specifically to help serve as one of the body's first lines of defense when it comes to preventing bacteria and viruses from gaining entry.

Occasionally, the tonsils can become overwhelmed with their duties and begin to serve as the source of an infection rather than a defense against it. If your child keeps getting a sore throat, strep throat, or other type of throat infection, removing his or her tonsils could contribute to better health in the future.

3. Watch your child's breathing.

Paying close attention to your child's breathing could provide you with valuable information when you are trying to decide when to remove his or her tonsils. If a child's tonsils are enlarged, he or she may feel like it's difficult to get enough oxygen when breathing solely through the nose.

You may notice your child start to breath primarily through his or her mouth if enlarged tonsils are becoming a problem. Having the tonsils removed will help to restore proper breathing patterns once again.

Determining when to remove your child's tonsils can be a difficult decision. If the tonsils are interfering with your child's sleep patterns, overall health, and breathing, then it's time to have a surgeon remove the tonsils in order to ensure that your child develops properly in the future.

For more information and help with making this decision, talk with a general surgeon or your family doctor.