What is Laser Tonsillectomy?

Laser tonsillectomy is the process of removing tonsils with a laser. Unlike the traditional method of removal, laser tonsillectomy usually only involves removing or resurfacing a part of the tonsil (the problematic part) rather than the entire tonsil. Since laser tonsillectomy has its own pros and cons, deciding which of the two methods is best really depends on the patient. More generally, this new procedure is best suited to adults without gag reflexes, do not suffer from chronic tonsillitis or strep throat, do not suspect cancer, and whose entire tonsil is visible when their mouth is open. Those with tonsil stones and enlarged tonsils benefit greatly from this new, convenient method.

One of the biggest differences between laser cryptolysis and a full tonsillectomy is it generally takes less than half an hour to perform laser cryptolysis, which can be performed under local or general anesthesia. Under local anesthesia, the entire process is done with the patient awake and fully aware of what is going on. The surgeon numbs the back of the patient’s throat and activates the laser as the patient holds his breath. When the removal is complete, the patient will be OK to eat regularly within an hour and, with the aid of antibiotics and antiseptic gargle, can resume their full daily schedule the very next day.

Undergoing laser tonsillectomy using general anaesthesia produces similar results, though the procedure takes places as the patient is asleep. The anaesthetic technician uses special endotracheal tubes to protect the patient from the laser, which can be very dangerous if not used with painstaking care. Laser tonsillectomy is usually performed under a general anesthesia when most of the tonsil needs to be removed due to problems such as sore throat, tonsillitis and pappilomas. Recovery is similar in the sense that the patient will be speaking and eating regularly within an hour. Gargling with salt and warm water daily will also help to speed up the healing process in both cases.

While traditional tonsil removal procedures run the risk of severe bleeding and transmission of infectious diseases (such as HIV or Hepatitis), some disadvantages are associated with the laser cryptolysis as well. For one, large tonsil masses might require multiple visits in order to be completely vaporized by laser. Even though traditional operations take a bit longer to recover from and are more painful due to exposed nerves, it makes more sense if it means only going once. There is also always a chance of a tonsil growing back after it has been minimized by laser.

Laser tonsillectomy certainly is more convenient than the traditional operation, though the above should help you determine which of the two methods is actually most beneficial to your particular situation.