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Up all night, restless days and frequent trips to the doctor.

Tubes and TonsilsWhile any combination of these may be considered common for infants and young children, it’s likely that ear infections and chronic colds may be the culprit. But there are treatment options that can offer relief… for the entire family.

The old -fashioned tonsillectomy is still a preferred method for kids who suffer from chronic symptoms such as sore throat, difficulty breathing, fever, chills and ear pain. Tonsils do serve a useful purpose. They are comprised of soft tissue that attach to the back of the throat and are designed to ward off harmful bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, these little miracle masses often become infected and inflamed causing what is known as tonsillitis.

If cold and flu symptoms persist and don’t respond to common treatments, it may be time to visit a specialist who can provide the best options for your child. Dr. Danielson, of Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat, says often surgery to remove enlarged and infected tonsils is the best option despite their purpose. “Children who suffer from chronic symptoms find relief with a simple procedure, and it’s most likely the removal of tonsils won’t mean their immune system will be compromised,” said Dr. Danielson. The procedure can be performed with local anesthesia and recovery time is minimal. “We usually see infants and children fully recovered within a few days and on the road to better breathing and feeling better.”

The use of ear tubes is also a treatment option for children who suffer from painful, never-ending ear infections. “Diagnosis can be a bit more complicated because a child’s head is still in development and problems with tonsils and ears can often be connected,” says Dr. Danielson. However, there are ways to isolate the problem by looking for key symptoms such as constant ear pain, pressure, and drainage.

Ear tubes are a simple procedure where tiny cylinders are placed through the ear drum (tympanic membrane) to allow air into the middle ear and aid in proper drainage. These tubes can be made out of various materials and come in two basic types: short-term and long-term. Short-term tubes are smaller and typically stay in place for six to eighteen months before falling out on their own. Long-term tubes are larger and have flanges that secure them in place for a longer period of time. Long-term tubes may fall out on their own, but removal by an otolaryngologist may be necessary. Because of this reduction in pressure, children often experience relief within a few days.

Each year, more than a half million ear tube surgeries are performed on children, making it the most common childhood surgery performed with anesthesia. The average age for ear tube insertion is one to three years old, but it can be done on older children, teen-agers and even adults. “This is a great option for many children but it’s always best to fully understand the options before undergoing any procedure,” he adds.

Inserting ear tubes may: Reduce the risk of future ear infection; Restore hearing loss caused by middle ear fluid; Improve speech problems and balance problems; Improve behavior and sleep problems caused by chronic ear infections; And help children do their best in school

Take the time to consider your child’s symptoms and talk to their doctor before refilling that prescription for antibiotics or staying up all night, because there may be permanent solutions that are just a small procedure away.

By: Jennifer Dumke - Sioux Falls Woman Magazine

Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat
2315 West 57th Street  •  Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108  •  605-336-3503  •  Toll-free 888-336-3503  •  Fax 605-336-6010