Tonsil disorders

The tonsils are a part of the immune system which defends against infection, and are seen at the back of the throat. Tonsils and adenoids are masses of tissue that are similar to the lymph nodes found in the neck, groin and armpits. The adenoids and tonsils near the entrance of the breathing passages catch the incoming germs that cause infections. An infection of the tonsils is called tonsillitis. Other tonsil conditions include cancer on tonsils, hypertrophied tonsils and kissing tonsils.

The most common problem affecting the tonsils and adenoids are recurrent infections or enlargement or obstruction that causes breathing and swallowing problems. The causes of tonsil infections can be a bacteria, or germs, which in some instances respond to treatment with antibiotics. Often infections are due to viruses and do not respond to antibiotics. Enlarged tonsil in children and young adults are common due to the repeated infection of tonsils. Chronic tonsillitis occurs due to a major damage to the tonsils do not respond well to antibiotic treatment. This may cause difficulty breathing, with snoring and restlessness at night. It can also cause sleep apnea. Chronic infection can affect other areas such as the eustachian tube. This can lead to frequent ear infections and potential hearing loss.

Tonsil stones are clusters of calcified material that form in the crevices of the tonsils. The natural debris is not cleared out in people with tonsil stones, causing it to decompose in the throat and creating the bad breath which is often associated with tonsil stones. People who suffer from allergies are more prone to develop tonsil stones. Excess mucous produced by the sinuses causes tonsil stones.

Tonsil tumor, which occurs in the oropharynx is an uncommon type of cancer. The most common signs and symptoms of tonsil cancer is a noticeable growth in the throat and the pain radiating from the cancerous tonsil to the ear. The other tonsil cancer symptoms include; dry irritation of the throat along with difficulty to swallow foods, bleeding, swollen lymph nodes in neck and altered sense of taste.

Symptoms of tonsil infections are swelling and sore throat. Other signs and symptoms are
red tonsils with
a white or yellow coat on it, 
a slight voice change due to swelling, painful swallowing, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, fever, bad breath, bleeding, mouth ulcer and dysphagia.

The most frequent tonsil treatment recommended for bacterial tonsillitis is oral antibiotics in association with pain relief and bed rest. Adeno-tonsillectomy or tonsillectomy is the tonsils removal surgery of choice for recurrent tonsillitis, or enlarged tonsils and adenoids. For most patients tonsil and adenoid removal is performed at the same time. These operations are done less commonly these days due to the possible complications of surgery including infection and severe bleeding from the sites where the tonsils or adenoids were removed.

An oral irrigator is a simple yet effective method of treatment of tonsil stones. Gargling with warm, salty water may help alleviate the discomfort of tonsillitis. Larger tonsil stones may be removed by curettage. Laser resurfacing may decrease the surface area of the tonsils. Tonsillectomy may be indicated if bad breath due to tonsil stones persists. Radiation therapy or tonsil surgery can be effective in treating early tonsil cancer, and chemotherapy for more advanced tonsil cancer. Reconstructive surgery can help restore structures that have been removed and rehabilitation can help you relearn how to eat, swallow or talk, following surgery.

Foreign body in Head and Neck region

Foreign body incidences are the most frequently encountered pathologies in paediatric otolaryngology.

Inhaled foreign bodies represent an acute emergency, whereas symptoms of ingested foreign bodies appear with some delay. The symptoms are immediate and it is safe to seek medical attention. The most frequent ingested foreign bodies in the Ear Nose and Throat sphere are chicken and fish bones, have been reported to cause upper respiratory airway tract abscesses. Tonsils, base of the tongue and the upper oesophagus are the places where usually the impacted foreign bodies are found. Their removal is essential to prevent super-infections, abscesses and perforations with potentially life threatening complications in case of oesophageal foreign bodies. Rarely, foreign bodies sometimes migrate within the tissues and become symptomatic after a certain time lag. The direct relation between the suspected foreign body ingestion and the first symptoms cannot be established due to the latency and unusual clinical presentation.
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