June 24, 2014

Summer break ideal time for a child's tonsillectomy surgery

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (June 24, 2014) – Swimming at the pool, going to sports camp, visiting relatives and getting tonsils removed are all normal activities for children during the summer months.

"Kids need from 10 days to two weeks of recovery time, so summer offers an ideal opportunity to get tonsil removal out of the way without interfering with school or winter holidays," said Laura Cozzi, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park.

"Improving breathing, eliminating snoring and reducing colds and ear infections are usually the reasons for having tonsils removed - usually nothing life-threatening or urgent - so the surgery can be arranged when it is most convenient," Cozzi said.

Approximately 500,000 children will get a tonsillectomy this year. Snoring and disrupted sleep could be a sign that your child - or even yourself, as an adult - needs a tonsillectomy. "This lack of healthful sleep can cause irritability, poor performance in school and even in very rare cases, developmental delays," she said.

A child's age is an important factor, with many surgeries being performed between ages 3 and 7. "Tonsils usually shrink between the ages of 7 and 8. If they don't, many parents of these school-age children want them removed to prevent existing or recurring health problems," Cozzi said.

The surgery is now an outpatient procedure.

"Many parents remember staying in a hospital overnight as children after having tonsils removed, but today the surgery takes about one hour and children go home to continue their recovery, which is less traumatic and preferred by parents and young patients," Cozzi said.

Symptoms that could spell tonsil trouble include:

  • Regularly breathing through the mouth
  • Loud snoring and frequently waking up from sleep
  • Repeated ear infections or sore throat
  • Persistent runny nose or cough
  • White spots on the tonsils
  • Foul odor and enlarged tonsils

Though parents may promise their kids they can have lots of ice cream after surgery, liquids are more important to avoid dehydration, Cozzi said. "But my patients like the idea that they can watch TV, play video games and surf the Internet more than usual during their recovery," she said.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.