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Dr. Emily Boss talks to her patient about surgery.

A tonsillectomy is removal of the tonsils. Tonsils are two rounded lymphatic organs on either side of the back of the mouth. Most physicians will recommend removing the tonsils if your child suffers from recurring tonsillitis, strep throat or has obstructive sleep apnea.

Different techniques for different children

At the Johns Hopkins Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, pediatric otolaryngologists (ENTs) have a different approach for each child, based on their history of recurrent infections or sleep apnea, as well as how surgery will be tolerated. While many pediatric ENTs may suggest surgery, our physicians are committed to recommending surgery only when they are sure it is the best option for treatment.

Our team of pediatric ENTs uses different techniques for tonsillectomies depending on the medical condition of the child. We try to minimize post-operative pain, while maximizing the chances for long-lasting cures.

For children with obstructive sleep apnea:

Some children are good candidates for a sub-total or powered intracapsular tonsillectomy, using a microdebrider to remove the tonsils. By removing about 95 percent of the tonsils, and leaving behind a small amount of tissue, recovery is faster with less post-operative pain.

Another technique our pediatric ENTs may use for a tonsillectomy is coblation. Coblation uses gentle radiofrequency energy with a natural salt solution to quickly and safely remove tonsils and adenoids.

Monitoring your child post-surgery

The biggest difference to our approach at Johns Hopkins is we monitor children immediately after surgery and decide based on the severity of their condition whether or not to admit them to the hospital for further monitoring. In this way, parents can be assured that their children are getting the very best care after these procedures.

For more information about a tonsillectomy please view our handout available in English and Spanish.

Request an Appointment

Please call us at 443-997-6467 (443-997-OHNS) to make an appointment at any of our three locations.