How an adenotonsillectomy is carried out

This animation shows where the adenoids and
tonsils are located and what happens if they become inflamed, which can happen as a result
of an infection. We then show how the operation called an adenotonsillectomy
is performed. Click the navigation arrows below the animation
screen to play, pause, rewind or fast-forward the animation. This animation contains sound.
The adenoids are two small lumps of tissue that lie at the back of your nose.
The tonsils are two oval lumps of tissue. They sit on either side of the back of your
mouth behind your tongue. In children, the adenoids and tonsils can
swell up and become inflamed. This may happen as a result of a viral infection.
Here we show the inflammation. People who suffer from frequent bouts of infected
or inflamed adenoids or tonsils may have them taken out.
The operation to take out both the adenoids and the tonsils is called an adenotonsillectomy.
Your child will be given a general anaesthetic. This means he or she will be asleep during
the operation and feel no pain. Here we show the anaesthetic being given.
Once the anesthetic is taken effect, your child’s mouth will be held open so the surgeon
can see into the throat. Specially adapted instruments are used to
remove the adenoids and tonsils. Here we show the tonsils and adenoids being
removed. The surgeon will press a gauze pad on the
adenoid and tonsil area. Here we show pressure being applied to stop
the bleeding. Sometimes the surgeon will close the wound
and stop the bleeding with dissolvable stitches. Sometimes a heated instrument is used to remove
the tonsils and stop the bleeding. This method is called diathermy.
There has been some question over the safety of diathermy because there is evidence that
it increases the risk of bleeding after the operation.
Ask your surgeon for information on this technique and other possible complications of the operation.
This is the end of the animation. Click on the animation screen to watch it


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