Tonsils: When should they come out?

Chronic tonsil issues can have a serious impact on a child’s quality of life, leading to a seemingly endless cycle of sore throat, strep, snoring – even behavior problems.

If your child suffers from these recurring issues, you could use some relief, too. Chronic throat and breathing problems usually lead to missed school for your child, missed work for you and missed sleep for everyone.

Iowa ENT Center can help. Removal of infected/enlarged tonsils – or tonsillectomy – may significantly improve your child’s quality of life, not to mention his or her overall health.


The following symptoms are often associated with infected and/or enlarged tonsils:

  • Chronic sore throat
  • Chronic strep
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loud eating habits (as if they can’t breathe through their nose)
  • Severe nasal obstruction
  • Snoring (disrupted sleep)
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Restless sleep (unable to breathe through the nose)

When to consider a tonsillectomy

A tonsillectomy may be the best option if your child has recurring infections:

  • At least seven times in the previous year,
  • At least five times in each of the previous two years, or
  • At least three times in each of the previous three years.

Your Iowa ENT Center physician may also may recommend removing your child’s tonsils if he or she is having difficulty breathing at night and/or is experiencing significant snoring.

What to expect from Iowa ENT Center

At Iowa ENT Center, we’re fortunate to have Harvard-trained Dr. Eytan Young, M.D., on staff – the only pediatric otolaryngologist in the Des Moines area. He also performs the most tonsillectomies in Iowa. (In other words, you can rest assured your child is in the best possible hands.)

Beyond the procedure itself, we understand that any surgery can be frightening for children – and stressful for parents. That’s why we do everything possible to make the experience a positive one, minimizing anxiety and fear, and nurturing your child through the process with the very best quality of care.

That’s where Courtney Mergen, M.A., CCLS – our Certified Child Life Specialist – comes in. From initial office visits to the operating room, to recovery and back to Iowa ENT Center for follow-up, Courtney is tuned into individual issues and needs. She’s there with each child – and family – every step of the way.

What to expect from a tonsillectomy

Our physicians use the very latest technology for tonsillectomies – coblation. Coblation has become the standard due to:

  • Ease of use
  • Speed of the procedure
  • Improved recovery (faster recovery = less pain)

Another option is an intracapsular tonsillectomy (or “inside-out tonsillectomy”). Data has suggested this procedure may provide even better outcomes – especially in terms of pain management.

At Iowa ENT Center, we know that the procedure itself is just one part of a successful surgery. We believe the care that follows is every bit as important. That’s why we offer highly trained, pediatric ENT nurses to take calls, answer questions, and – along with Dr. Young – help manage your child’s pain and recovery with the most advanced techniques possible.

Helping you make an informed decision

We want our patients and their families to feel as comfortable and informed as possible. To schedule an evaluation with one of our physicians, call us at 515.223.4368. Or request an appointment online.

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