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  • Should my son have his tonsils out?

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    Old 04-09-2009, 04:52 AM   #1
    sueinge
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    Should my son have his tonsils out?

    My son is 5 and has enlarged tonsils. He snores at night when sleeping on his back. He hasn't had any infections except for strep throat one time. His pediatrician said it isn't normal for children to snore and commented on his tonsils being huge so we took him to an ENT. The ENT immediately suggested taking the tonsils and adenoids out. My son is normally active, eats well, and seems overall pretty healthy, so I am wondering if we are doing the wrong thing by taking the tonsils out. I can see if he has had numerous infections and is sick all the time from them, but I hate to put him thru such an awful operation and recouperation if it isn't really necessary. I even read somewhere that kids tonsils can shrink later on and so now I am second guessing the ENT. Does anyone have any advice or experience with this? Thanks!!!

     
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    Old 04-09-2009, 05:57 AM   #2
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    Re: Should my son have his tonsils out?

    At age 5 it is not an awful operation and recuperation period. Only when adults have them out is it really bad. If it's causing the bad snoring, then I'd have them out. That's only going to get worse as he gets older. Since they are enlarged he could start having other problems. We don't need our tonsils so why not just get them out and be done with it?

     
    Old 04-09-2009, 07:45 AM   #3
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    Re: Should my son have his tonsils out?

    I, too, would second guess the ENT! and I would suggest getting opinions from other doctors. I hate to say this but doctors like to do surgery...for lots of reasons, not all of which are in the best interest of the patient. And I'm not so sure that tonsellectomies are easier on the young...I remember growing up with some of those myths and found out later, that's what they were...myths.

    Tonsils serve a purpose...they are a part of the immune system and they help to protect against infection. The fact that your son's tonsils are enlarged, may suggest they are doing their "job" and they may be fighting an infection that you, your son, nor the doctors are aware of.

    From what I understand (and this comes from my personal background with sleep disorders), snoring is not normal for a young child. It may be that the tonsils are contributing to the snoring, but I would look at infections/conditions that would enlarge the tonsils before I'd consider surgery.

    Bethsheba

    Last edited by bethsheba; 04-09-2009 at 03:05 PM.

     
    Old 04-09-2009, 03:13 PM   #4
    sueinge
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    Re: Should my son have his tonsils out?

    Thanks, I appreciate your replies, I think I will be getting a second opinion from some more docs!

     
    Old 04-09-2009, 03:21 PM   #5
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    Re: Should my son have his tonsils out?

    sue,

    I would suggest doing some homework about how to go about getting a second opinion...

    My "second opinion" specialist, like my "first opinion" specialist recommended surgery. Although I was flabergasted at the second opinion, I found the stamina to ask dr 2 why he also thought I needed surgery. He said and I quote, "That's what you wanted me to say, isn't it?"

    My third opinion doc said no to surgery, and when I told him about my 2 previous opinions, he laughed and said, "they must have been in the market for new cars!"

    That was over 15 years ago and I have been very, very happy with my decision to forego surgery...didn't have problems then, and haven't had problems since. This wasn't for a T&A, but I think the lesson learned is universal.

    Take care and good luck!

    Bethsheba

    PS Friends in the health care industry recommended both doctors...I have no doubt that they were good at performing surgery, based on the input of my friends who I have the utmost trust in, BUT apparently the specialists had hidden agendas.

     
    Old 04-09-2009, 05:15 PM   #6
    sueinge
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    Re: Should my son have his tonsils out?

    Wow, that is crazy Bethseba!!! But it doesn't surprise me!
    When we went to the first ENT I had a feeling that he was going to tell me he needed the T & A because he is a surgeon and that is his business. Most parents that get to the specialist stage expect to have some "action" beyond what their regular pediatrician has done for them. If you have a child that has had chronic infections you want an answer and solution, so surgery would make sense. I kind of knew that going in...when I got home and told my husband he said the same thing...I guess that is why I came for advice on healthboards, because my gut instinct told me to explore the whole thing further instead of jumping right in and scheduling it. My brother is a pediatrician in a different state so I intend to ask his opinion too, and ask him if ENT do this surgery unnecessarily sometimes. Thanks again!

     
    Old 04-09-2009, 07:01 PM   #7
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    Re: Should my son have his tonsils out?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sueinge View Post
    Wow, that is crazy Bethseba!!!
    Not only crazy, but scary....especially knowing I had access to some of the "best".

    As women, we are conditioned to ignore our gut instincts...the very instincts that protect our children. That's not to say we shouldn't listen to our heads, too, but I believe it's important to listen to both.

    Quote:
    ... Most parents that get to the specialist stage expect to have some "action" beyond what their regular pediatrician has done for them.
    It's interesting that you said this. My sleep specialist took a very conservative approach to treating my disorders, which I was very grateful for (long story, but I'm not big on meds). My friend, who is a nurse, said she was surprised he'd take the "long" route, because not all patients would be so patient. In other words, she implied that some doctors were more radical in their treatment because they thought it was expected of them!

    Quote:
    ... If you have a child that has had chronic infections you want an answer and solution, so surgery would make sense.
    Yes, this is quite understandable...and who knows, surgery may be necessary....but if the surgery is an elective, other options should be offered/considered/discussed first.

    Quote:
    ... because my gut instinct told me to explore the whole thing further instead of jumping right in and scheduling it. My brother is a pediatrician in a different state so I intend to ask his opinion too, and ask him if ENT do this surgery unnecessarily sometimes. Thanks again!
    Yes, our guts can guide us well sometimes but we must listen first. A good place to start is your brother...but keep in mind that different specialists have different opinions---in other words, if they only see kids, they may not see the whole picture.

    There is some excellent info out there about getting second opinions. I wish I had access to that info when I was trying to make an informed choice. I would encourage you to do some reading in that area...asking the right questions is everything. I asked about finding the best surgeons...when I should have asked about finding the best diagnostician before anything.

    Take care and best of luck to you and to your child!! If you need to find me for whatever reason, I'm usually posting on the sleep disorders boards (thus some of my interest and experience) in tonsils/snoring.

    Bethsheba

    Last edited by bethsheba; 04-09-2009 at 07:04 PM.

     
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