The tonsils are two packets of tissue located at the back of the throat (in the pharyngeal cavity). The adenoids are similar to tonsils, but are located behind the nose (within the nasopharynx). If your child’s tonsils or adenoids are enlarged, their doctor may recommend the removal of either or both of these structures.
Some possible reasons for a tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) may include*:
- a history of snoring or mouth breathing while sleeping
- obstructive sleep apnea (gasping or short periods of not breathing during sleep)
- chronic, recurrent and/or severe tonsillitis
- difficulty swallowing due to large tonsils
- abscess of the tonsils
Some possible reasons for an adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoids) may include**:
- obstructive sleep apnea
- chronic blockage of the nose and nasal discharge
- persistent, recurrent ear infection caused by compression of the eustachian tubes
- persistent sinus infections
If your child has the above symptoms, consult your paediatrician, who will then likely refer your child to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist (ENT). If left untreated, enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids can affect speech, learning, and development of the facial muscles and bones.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
After a tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, patients may not automatically begin breathing and swallowing in the correct fashion. Studies show
that surgery alone may not completely eliminate obstructive breathing disorders, and researchers strongly recommend that patients undertake follow-up treatment to establish proper breathing and swallowing.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT), delivered by a trained Speech Pathologist, is a highly effective postoperative treatment for those who have undergone tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy.
OMT can help patients retrain and re-pattern neuromuscular movements in the tongue, mouth and throat, and integrate them into everyday life. Improvements include***:
- proper oral resting position (tongue on alveolar ridge, teeth closed, lips together)
- proper resting mouth posture (lips closed)
- nasal breathing during the day and at night while sleeping
- increased energy due to improved sleep
- establishing correct, coordinated chewing and swallowing patterns
- reduced drooling
- better posture
If you or your child would benefit from post-operative OMT, contact the BFDC’s Stephanie Eber. She is a Speech Pathologist trained in OMT. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org