Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, LLP - Bedford, Grapevine, Southlake, and Flower Mound, TX

Tonsils, Adenoids & Ear Tubes

Some of the most common reasons for missed sleep—for parents and kids—are frequent ear infections, tonsillitis and adenoiditis. And some kids seem to breeze through colds, but a lot of others don’t. When tonsil, adenoid and ear problems drag everyone to their wits end, talk to us about treatment options.

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Tonsils, Adenoids & Ear Tubes

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Tonsil Surgery: Tonsillectomy

Everyone gets tonsils; little masses of soft tissue attached to each side of the back of the throat. These bumpy little lumps are related to lymph tissues. Contrary to the widely-circulated myth, the tonsils actually do—or should—serve a useful purpose. As a component of the lymphatic system, they were designed to ward off harmful bacteria and viruses, catching them before they go further down your throat and into your system. Unfortunately for many kids, however, the tonsils themselves become infected and inflamed. We call this situation tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis is most often caused by streptococcus, but can also be caused by various versions of influenza, parainfluenza, adenoviruses, enteroviruses and others. For children and other individuals whose tonsils seem to be susceptible to infection and inflammation, some scary symptoms can keep them up at night:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing (the tonsils swell, narrowing the airway)
  • Difficulty swallowing and talking
  • Hoarseness
    Tonsils become red, or covered with white or yellow coating
  • Swelling in the neck area by the jaws
  • Fever and chills
  • Ear pain
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

If these symptoms become frequent and significantly disrupt you and your child’s life, visit us for a clear diagnosis and to discuss whether having a tonsillectomy (surgery to remove enlarged and infected tonsils) is the right option. Although the tonsils serve as part of the immune system, studies have found that people who have had a tonsillectomy don’t suffer a decrease in immunity when they lack tonsils.

Tonsillectomies are performed under anesthesia. But by following your ENT’s recovery instructions (plenty of rest, quiet, lots of liquids and soft foods for several days), your child (and you) should be breathing a lot better soon.

Adenoid Surgery: Adenoidectomy

Like the tonsils, adenoids form part of the body’s immune system—but one that can end up being more problematic than not in some kids. Massed at the back of the nasal cavity, this lump of lymphatic tissue is supposed to help block bacteria and viruses from traveling further into the system after they enter the nose. Adenoids are present in young children, particularly under the age of 5. As a child grows towards adolescence, however, the adenoids shrink down to nearly nothing.

Unfortunately, for many very young children, the adenoids themselves become infected and enlarged, making it hard to breathe and speak. Frequent colds, sinus infections and ear infections can make removing the adenoids a medical necessity for some kids, particularly when they interfere with breathing. Here are some symptoms you should definitely discuss with your ENT:

  • Breathing and speaking problems
  • Sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep, sometimes characterized by snoring)
  • Recurring ear and sinus infections

Breathing difficulties can be scary and dangerous, so always contact Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, LLP about these right away. For young children, hearing and speech development can also suffer negative impacts. In these cases, an adenoidectomy may be the best course of action.

Adenoids and tonsils can often be removed during the same operation, if both are a concern. We will describe the process and give you pre-op instructions to follow before the surgery, as well as detailed recovery instructions.

Ear Tubes Surgery

Some young children (and their parents) battle painful and never-ending ear infections. Sometimes, problems with the tonsils, adenoids and the ears are wound up with each other. This is because the anatomy of a child’s head (the Eustachian tubes that drain the ears in particular) are immature, narrow, weak, drain poorly and are still under development. When a child struggles with constant ear pain, pressure and drainage, these problems can blue a child’s hearing, making it hard for them to develop the auditory acuity needed for normal speech development.

If your child struggles with these things, Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, LLP may recommend inserting ear tubes to help drain the ears. These tiny, spool-shaped insertions can improve your child’s hearing, reduce pressure and pain and reduce the need for ongoing antibiotics. They can be a good option for many children, so be sure to make an appointment with us to discuss your options.

If you or your child struggles with breathing, hearing and/or sleeping, call us right away for proper diagnosis and treatment!

Talk to the Experts

Talk to the Experts