Radio frequency ablation is just one of the current methods of tonsil removal. As scientific research progresses, new, less invasive and safer surgical methods are being developed for tonsillectomy surgery. Radio frequency ablation is one of the newer methods specifically ideal for reduction in size of tonsils.
The Necessity for Tonsillectomy Surgery
Tonsillectomy is only deemed necessary when:
- a patient suffers sleep disorders due to chronically enlarged tonsils
- a patient has suffered bouts of tonsillitis requiring antibiotics more than three times in a year.
The surgeon then has to take a number of things into consideration when deciding on the preferred method of tonsil removal:
- do the tonsils need removing in their entirety, or is the aim only to reduce the size of the tonsils
- the chances of a severe bleed
- the presence of current chronic infection in the site
- recovery time
- pain levels.
Factors Favoring Radio Frequency Ablation Tonsil Removal
Radio frequency ablation tonsil removal is ideal if:
- the intention is only to reduce the size of the tonsil tissue
- the patient needs to get back to work/school immediately
- there might be a problem with bleeding
- the procedure is to be performed as an outpatient under local analgesia
Radio Frequency Ablation Tonsillectomy Procedure
Radio frequency ablation works with radio frequency energy traveling through a probe. Radio frequency waves do not produce heat, so there is no danger of heat damage to surrounding tissues. The tonsillectomy procedure is performed under sedation or local anesthesia in the Doctors rooms or a day clinic facility. The active point of the probe is inserted into the tonsil tissue. Radio frequency waves are transmitted through the probe into the tonsil tissue itself. The actual waves cause the tonsil tissue to degenerate from within. Scarring occurs inside the actual tonsil. This will bring about reduction in tonsil size over a period of weeks. Treatments can be repeated several times if necessary.
Disadvantages of Radio Frequency Ablation Tonsil Removal
- The tonsil will increase in size in the post-operative period because of swelling. The tonsil will shrink in size between the first and third week after ablation.
- If the tonsils were very large and the patient suffered from sleep disorders, overnight admission for observation might be necessary to ensure the airway does not become obstructed.
- The amount of reduction of tonsil tissue is unpredictable and the procedure might need to be repeated.
Advantages Radio Frequency Ablation Tonsil Removal
- Fast and easy to perform
- Quicker recovery period. The person can go home and continue their normal activities after the procedure is completed
- Very little pain or discomfort is experienced
- It is a very safe procedure
- There are no open wounds
- No post-operative care is necessary
- No heat damage to surrounding tissues will occur during the operation.
- It is less expensive than surgical tonsillectomy as it requires no general anesthesia, hospitalization or pain relief after the operation.
Radio frequency ablation for tonsil removal is ideal for reducing the size of tonsil tissue. It is a less invasive, cheaper, easier procedure and effectively reduces the size of tonsils over time.