Throat surgery

Throat surgery encompasses a range of procedures which are performed on different areas of the throat.

These include:

  • Laryngectomy
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Adenoidectomy
  • Tracheostomy
  • Thyroidectomy

Each of these is discussed separately within this guide.

Throat surgery is only performed in cases of a persistent sore throat, suspicion of cancer or chronic tonsillitis.

A laryngectomy involves the removal of a cancerous tumour from the larynx which also includes the surrounding tissues and lymph glands. This procedure is not performed that often although there are still a few situations in which it is required.

Tonsillectomy is the most commonly performed type of throat surgery although much less frequently than in the past. At one time it was common practice to remove the tonsils and adenoids, especially in children but things have changed since then.

Nowadays, the tonsils are only removed in cases of repeated tonsillitis or peritonsillar abscess.

This is a similar situation with an adenoidectomy. This form of throat surgery is performed either on its own or in conjunction with a tonsillectomy. An adenoidectomy tends to be performed where the person has repeated enlarged adenoids or difficulty sleeping or breathing due to their swollen adenoids.

A tracheostomy is a procedure which is carried out in cases of an emergency, e.g. difficulty in breathing. It is also used to remove unwanted fluids from the throat or lungs.

Thyroidectomy is the removal of some or the entire thyroid gland. It is performed in cases of thyroid cancer, an enlarged thyroid or an overactive thyroid.

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