Children, particularly those attending child care, will frequently experience ear infections. When this occurs on a more regular basis (>1-2 episodes/year) it is known as recurrent acute otitis media and your child may benefit from the insertion of grommets. A grommet is a small plastic tube which is placed into each eardrum, with the goal being to reduce the number of ear infections your child is experiencing.
Glue ear or otitis media with effusion is another common problem in younger children and describes the presence of fluid behind the eardrum. This fluid in many children dissipates over time, however, if present for several months may require the insertion of a grommet to allow it to drain. Glue ear is often detected after a child is noted to have issues with speech and language as the presence of the fluid does not usually cause symptoms in its own right. Insertion of a grommet in these children can improve hearing in terms of volume and clarity.
Grommet insertion is a relatively quick procedure and is performed as a day case.
The most frequent reason for removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids in children are snoring. Snoring is not a normal phenomenon in children. Snoring is a sign that the airway is restricted and this is often due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids. The severity of snoring covers a wide spectrum and ranges from mild simple snoring to those with severe sleep apnoea. When a child is snoring they are working harder to breathe. They may also be getting less oxygen to the brain and other organs. This can understandably cause children to be tired and flat in the morning with poor energy levels throughout the day. Long-term, sleep-disordered breathing in children can affect growth and neurocognitive function which may manifest as reduced academic performance or other behavioural problems. In most children removal of the tonsils and adenoids will significantly improve or cure these problems.
Recurrent tonsillitis is another common reason for removal of the tonsils. When throat infections are sufficiently frequent or severe, removal of tonsils is indicated. Sometimes there may be other complicating factors which prompt the earlier removal of tonsils in some children.
Tonsillectomy usually requires the child to stay in a hospital overnight for monitoring purposes. Most children then go home early the next day for the remainder of their recovery. Dr Cleland makes every attempt to make your child comfortable and minimise pain before, during and after surgery.