Tonsilectomy & Adenoidectomy
Tonsils and Adenoids
The tonsils are two masses of tissue found on either side of the back of the throat. The adenoids are located high in the throat behind the nose and roof of the mouth. Together they form part of the ring of glandular tissue at the back of the throat. The tonsils and adenoids assist the body in defense against infection by "sampling" entering bacteria and viruses and becoming infected themselves. They then help form antibodies to resist and fight future infections. After an individual is older than 1 year of age, however, the tonsils and adenoids are no longer needed by the immune system.
Unfortunately, the tonsils and adenoids often become susceptible to recurrent bacterial infections and/or obstruction that may lead to breathing, swallowing and sleep problems.
Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy
Surgical removal of these structures is called a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy or "T & A" for short. In most patients, these 10-15 minute procedures are performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, and may be performed separately or together as an "adenotonsillectomy". Your doctor will decide which treatment is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your individual condition.
Dr. Dodson primarily uses radio frequency cold ablation (known as Coblation tonsillectomy) to perform tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. After considering the other techniques for these surgeries, Dr. Dodson decided in 2006 to use Coblation exclusively due to the superior post-operative recoveries he saw and that were proven in the scientific literature.
In addition to reducing the frequency of recurring infections, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can also make eating and speaking easier, reduce snoring and treat obstructive sleep apnea in patients suffering from these complications.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
People with sleep apnea stop breathing while they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times per night, and sometimes for a minute or longer. Sleep apnea affects about 18 million people of all ages in the U.S. and takes three forms: obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common form, occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat closes, blocking (obstructing) the person’s airway. The airway remains open in central sleep apnea, but the brain does not send signals to the muscles involved in breathing. Mixed sleep apnea combines aspects of the obstructive and central types. A common warning sign of sleep apnea is snoring (especially snoring interspersed with gasps or lack of breathing) although it is not always as a result of sleep apnea.
Because sufferers are roused from sleep briefly to resume proper breathing, disrupting and lowering the quality of a person’s rest, sleep apnea can cause a number of problems. If left untreated, it can result in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, headaches, and daytime fatigue leading to job impairment and motor vehicle crashes.
There are a variety of treatments available for sleep apnea, including non-surgical treatments such as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), oral appliances/mandibular repositioning and tongue-retaining devices, nasal sprays, and traditional nose and throat surgery. If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea, talk with your health care provider at Bridger ENT. He or she will discuss which treatment is right for you.
A bone anchored hearing aid (Baha) is an implantable device used to improve hearing in patients with certain types of hearing loss by stimulating the inner ear through the bone. Approved by the FDA since 1996, this type of hearing aid has been used successfully across the world for over 30 years, providing effective relief for patients of all ages.
Bahas can be used to improve hearing for patients with conductive or mixed hearing impairment. This type of device is ideal for patients who are not candidates for regular hearing aids due to an ear deformity, chronic ear drainage, narrow ear canals, or allergic reaction to the plastic in hearing aid molds. Made up of three different parts, including a titanium screw, a button-like extension (abutment) and the actual hearing aid or sound processor, a Baha is surgically implanted behind the ear through a minimally invasive procedure.
This procedure takes less than an hour to perform on an outpatient basis, using local or conscious sedation anesthesia for adults and general anesthesia for children. Patients can return home the same day as their procedure. During the initial procedure, the titanium screw and abutment are placed into the skull behind the ear, while the sound processor is connected to the abutment three months later allowing immediate use of the implant. The three month waiting period ensures that the titanium becomes integrated into the bone for long-lasting use of the implant.
Your doctor will determine whether or not a Baha is right for you after a thorough evaluation of your individual conditions and after reviewing your recent professional audiogram (hearing test).
At Bridger ENT we use the Cochlear™ Baha® 3 System.
Read more about this procedure in a recent article in the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital Health News.