What Is a Lingual Tonsillectomy?

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Lingual Tonsi…what?

In order to better understand what Lingual Tonsillectomy is, we first need to understand what our lingual tonsils are and where they are located.

Your lingual tonsils are oval-shaped organs located at the base of your tongue. They are part of your lymphatic system and are there to protect your from upper respiratory track infections. The lingual tonsils tend to grow in size from birth to about seven years of age and then shrink.

However, if your lingual tonsils do not shrink enough or become too enlarged they may lead to snoring and sleep apnea by causing the collapse of your airway at night.

So, what is a Lingual Tonsillectomy?

If a snoring and sleep apnea specialists determines your lingual tonsils are causing your snoring and/or sleep apnea, they may opt to remove them through a procedure known as Lingual Tonsillectomy.

Lingual Tonsillectomy is performed in an operating room setting under general anesthesia. The surgeon will use a scope to have a better view of the base of your tongue through your mouth. Then, the surgeon will either proceed to remove your lingual tonsils or they will use a newer technique called coblation which vibrates the tissue to reduce the tonsils without the use of incisions.

Complications for this procedure are rare. There is less than one percent risk of bleeding, and other complications such as numbness, swallowing and voice changes are even less likely.

There is no severe pain associated with Lingual Tonsillectomy, however your physician will likely prescribe pain medication for the days after the surgery.

You will be expected to follow a 10 to 14 day soft diet while you heal from the procedure to avoid bleeding. During this time it is important to keep hydrated at all times since dehydration is a common cause of increased pain and complications after surgery.

If you would like to find out more about Lingual Tonsillectomy or are ready to book an appointment with Dr. Pasha to discuss whether you are a good candidate for this procedure, please visit our website.