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Summer break ideal time for a child's tonsillectomy surgery

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (June 24, 2014) – Swimming at the pool, going to sports camp, visiting relatives and getting tonsils removed are all normal activities for children during the summer months.

"Kids need from 10 days to two weeks of recovery time, so summer offers an ideal opportunity to get tonsil removal out of the way without interfering with school or winter holidays," said Laura Cozzi, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park.

"Improving breathing, eliminating snoring and reducing colds and ear infections are usually the reasons for having tonsils removed - usually nothing life-threatening or urgent - so the surgery can be arranged when it is most convenient," Cozzi said.

Approximately 500,000 children will get a tonsillectomy this year. Snoring and disrupted sleep could be a sign that your child - or even yourself, as an adult - needs a tonsillectomy. "This lack of healthful sleep can cause irritability, poor performance in school and even in very rare cases, developmental delays," she said.

A child's age is an important factor, with many surgeries being performed between ages 3 and 7. "Tonsils usually shrink between the ages of 7 and 8. If they don't, many parents of these school-age children want them removed to prevent existing or recurring health problems," Cozzi said.

The surgery is now an outpatient procedure.

"Many parents remember staying in a hospital overnight as children after having tonsils removed, but today the surgery takes about one hour and children go home to continue their recovery, which is less traumatic and preferred by parents and young patients," Cozzi said.

Symptoms that could spell tonsil trouble include:

  • Regularly breathing through the mouth
  • Loud snoring and frequently waking up from sleep
  • Repeated ear infections or sore throat
  • Persistent runny nose or cough
  • White spots on the tonsils
  • Foul odor and enlarged tonsils

Though parents may promise their kids they can have lots of ice cream after surgery, liquids are more important to avoid dehydration, Cozzi said. "But my patients like the idea that they can watch TV, play video games and surf the Internet more than usual during their recovery," she said.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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Stasia Thompson
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