By Amber McHale | North Atlanta ENT & Allergy
Tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the pharyngeal tonsils, but can also involve other areas of the back of the throat. It is caused by viral or bacterial infections. There are multiple types of tonsillitis: acute, recurrent, chronic, and peritonsillar abscess.
Patients with acute tonsillitis may experience fever, sore throat, halitosis (bad breath), difficulties and/or painful swallowing and tender cervical lymph nodes. Airway obstruction may be present, depending on the size of the tonsils, which can cause mouth breathing, snoring, nocturnal breathing pauses, or sleep apnea. Fatigue and lethargy are common. Symptoms of acute tonsillitis typically resolve in three to four days but can persist up to two weeks.
The diagnosis of recurrent tonsillitis is made when a patient experiences multiple episodes of acute tonsillitis in a year. Tonsillitis is most frequently seen in children over the age of two, and rarely in those younger than two years old.
Patients with chronic tonsillitis may experience a chronic sore throat, halitosis, tonsillitis, and tender cervical lymph nodes.
Patients with a peritonsillar abscess often experience severe throat pain, fevers, drooling, halitosis, difficulties opening the mouth, and muffled voice quality. Peritonsillar abscesses are typically seen in young adults but can occasionally occur in children as well.
Frequent infection can cause deep crypts to develop in the tonsils, allowing for bacteria to build up and calcify. The calcified bacteria are known as tonsil stones. Tonsil stones can cause a sore throat, difficulties swallowing, halitosis, swollen tonsils, or a persistent cough or throat clearing. However, some patients with tonsil stones may be asymptomatic.
Tonsillitis is usually treated with a course of antibiotics in addition to conservative management for symptom relief (i.e., NSAID’s and other OTC remedies). Severe cases may require hospitalization, particularly when there is airway obstruction. When the condition is chronic or recurrent, surgical intervention may be recommended. Peritonsillar abscesses may require urgent drainage.
At North Atlanta ENT & Allergy, we believe there is a better tonsillectomy procedure — for surgeons and patients entrusted in their care. It’s now possible with the BiZact™ tonsillectomy device.
Compared to the traditional tonsillectomy surgery, BiZact™ offers our patients the following benefits:
- Less tissue damage
- Less pain
- Less bleeding
- Faster recovery
At North Atlanta ENT & Allergy, our board-certified ear, nose and throat surgeons are always researching the most advanced treatment options, to give our patients the best outcomes. If you are interested in seeking treatment for tonsillitis, contact our office at (770) 292-3045 to schedule an appointment, or submit a request form.