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Tonsillectomy, Uvulaectomy and Turbinite Reduction   -   2002/06/28Viewed 1935 times this month, last update: 2005/01/28

It turns out I have terrible sleep apnea, in addition to my chronic tonsillitis, due to my enlarged uvula (the hangy-downy thing in my throat), and permanently inflamed nasal tissues (turbinites). This means that my throat always hurts, my nose is always stuffy, and I stop breathing for up to 20 seconds about a hundred times each night.
Ugh. I had no idea.
So my doctor is going to cut out my tonsils, my uvula, and half my turbinites all in one surgery session. So in about a month, my whole head is going to hurt for about two weeks, but then I should be healthier, breathe better, get much better sleep, and stop snoring. Yay!

Update: 2002/12/12
My surgery is scheduled for December 17th. Five days from now. I've had three people (including my doctor) tell me the surgery is going to be awful. Freakin' tonsils. Wish me luck!

Update: 2002/12/18
Well, I'm home. My surgery took a but longer than expected, beacuse my doctor found a large absess in my sinus, and my tonsils extended deeper into my throught than expected. I spent all yesterday on large quantities of Morphine, as the Uvula removal turned out to be quite painful. Unexpectedly, the tonsillectomy and sinus tissue removal was not very painful; in contrast anyway.
I'm now home, taking percocet, and alternating between naps and T.V. Vanessa is taking very good care of me, and while I was in the hospital, all the nurses were very attentive and kind. I would recomend Mission Hospital to anyone.
I expect to be on a liquid diet for at least another couple of days, but I think I'll be able to actually eat something, on Christmas.

Update: 2002/12/20
I'm actually getting much better! I can eat soups, I can talk quite a bit, and I'm not counting the minutes until my next percocet pill. Actually, I've forgotten to take it a couple of times. (For a little while) Initially, I had quite a bit of bleeding from my sinuses into my throat, but that has almost completely subsided, and since my doctor gave me a sinus cleaner spray thing today, I can breathe through my nose! Both nostrils! I know that doesn't sound like much to most of you, but for my entire life, I've only been able to breathe through one nostril at a time, one would always be clogged. I would travel to the middle of the desert to clear out my sinuses. Now, at home, with my two cats, and 60 pound dog, I can breathe almost like normal people!
Wanna hear something really gross? After my operation, my doctor told me that he found two oddities in my head. One was that my tonsils were about twice as large as he expected. So much so that he needed special instruments to get them all out, and the other, that there was a puss-filled absess in one of my sinuses. (Turbinite tissue) The absess was in the middle of one of the terbinites, and enlarged that structure so much as to cut off air flow entirely! In removing that absess, he effectively cut in half that turbinite, and made that nostril much, much more usable.

Ok, last thing today. This one is for all of you concidering this operation: During my sleep study, it was determined that my blood oxygenation level could dip down to 76% regularly. Very very low. The night after the surgery, my oxygenation level was at an AVERAGE of 96%. That's with the post-op swelling and blood clogging. 96%!

Update: 2002/12/21
Well, I've been moving around more yesterday and today. Yesterday I went to do some Christmas shopping, and today I'll probably do some more. My throat and nose feel fine, I'm just so tired, and off-balance from the pain medication. Percocet works great on pain (almost as good as the morpinine I had in the hospital) but it messes you up! I take cat-naps unintentionaly throughout the day, and I keep daydreaming simple things, and then being confused about what I really remember having done!
I find I can easily sit at the computer and work, but I always feel as though I'm going to fall off my chair, and I can't really focus. It's all very interesting.

Update: 2002/12/27
It's been a week and a half since my surgery. I've re-learned how to swallow, without the use of a uvula. I can even drink sodas again. I've voluntarily taken myself off of pain medication, so that I can think clearly enough to do work, and there is no blood in my throat or nose any more.
Most of the day I'm just fine, but I guess the eight hours of mouth-breathing while I sleep at night dries things out, because the mornings hurt quite a bit. I figure that'll complete healing over the next week or so. I was just well enough on Christmas to eat a couple of servings of Vanessa's father's prime rib! Man I'm hungry....dreaming...

Update: 2003/11/01
When I was first diagnosed with sleep apnea, my doctor said that after my operation, and the apnea was corrected, I'd feel like "Superman". I throught about this for a while after my surgery, and thought he over-estimated that benifit.
I was wrong though. For years (since before High School) I used to live life always tired. I would say dozens of times per day, "I'm so tired...". I used to sleep in till 1:00pm on weekends, and wake up terribly sleepy on weekdays. I figured out that in order to feel even relatively human, I needed 9 hours of sleep per day.
I used to dread the possibility that something might wake me up in the middle of the night, beacuse then my whole night's sleep would be ruined. Last night I woke up a few times. No big deal. I went right back to sleep, and woke up by myself rested. I stand (well, sit) before you now, in my home office at 6:30am on a Saturday, after 8 wonderfully restful and satisfying hours of sleep, to tell you that, compared to how I used to feel, I do feel like Superman.

05/19/2004: This site is in no way affiliated with any medical institution nor any medical professional. This article and all comments are personal opinions only, and in no way should be interpreted as informed medical direction. Erik Burrows and ErikBurrows.com hereby waive any responsibility for actions taken by anyone in response to information obtained on this site. Always consult a trained physician when making decisions concerning medical care.

Click Here to view the first 1232 comments to this article!

George (2011-04-24): I think this was a good sight to get a variety of information, to help make a good decision about having these types of operations completed. After reading the posts I chose to have a partial uvulaectomy done. This sight also helped with understanding the after effects which prepare you for recovery.

Eddie (2011-06-07): I had all the same items performed as the original poster and had a much longer recovery. Painful but so far worth it since i can finally breath out of my nose for the first time in 15 years.

mouthsg (2011-06-20): These lasers were created by dentists, receiving extensive clinical trials before receiving Federal Drug Administration approval. This technology is set to reinvent periodontal surgery as we know it.

Pat (2011-11-18): I am 33 years old and, for the past few months, I have not been able to sleep. My doctor says I have a large uvula. I can feel all of the flesh (uvula, tonsils, back or toung) sliding back and blocking my airway just as I start to fall asleep. I can't sleep well on my side because my arms and hands fall asleep very easily. I dread going to bed because I know I have hours of tossing, turning, and gasping ahead of me. Usually after about 4 hours I fall asleep for a few hours because I am just so exhausted. I think I am going to look into this surgery.

Steven (2012-02-21): Nearly a year later and the gag reflex is still BAD! Though structurally there is no issue, something is not right. I would never recommend a tonsillectomy/uvulaectomy.

Scott (2012-04-14): Hi, I had my ulular removed and septoplasy performed on my nose, its now 3 days since surgury and all is well still cannot breath from my nose and only getting 1 - 2 hours sleep at a time and waking up with severe dry mouth. as far as pain goes nothing from my nose, pain score on my throat is 10+ man this hurts like nothing i have felt before still cannot swallow or eat properly, well I hope time heals .

Jeff (2012-07-23): No more uvula.... hello gag reflex. I gag when my head bends over the sink as i brush my teeth or if i breathe in very deeply. I'm 33 & opted for the whole ball of wax... goodbye tonsils, polyps, & uvula.. terbinate reduction and septoplasty.

Pain was not bad until day 3 then all hell broke loose. It was awful!
I would recommend the procedures ... but, would not do the surgery again.

Godwin (2012-07-26): I removed tonsils and uvula on 07/23/2012. The first day was a lot of pain. Today is not as bad. I have sleep apnea and I hoping that it gets better. My uvula was long and thick. I have noticed that when I drink there is a little coughing. Most of the feedback says there is only a 50%-60% chance of eliminating the sleep apnea and snoring. However, after 3 years of a CPAP machine, this is worth trying.

ron (2012-08-07): 7/7/12 Wow, never realized that so many people are/were suffering the same as myself.
This uvula has to go....As soon as i lay down i feel it choking me. And as for the swelling,infections etc, well to say i am over it would be an understatement, can't even have the ocassional drink any more. I can really relate to Daryl, mate, i feel EXACTLY the same way.
This has been a very informative site. Erik, we share the same surname

Matt (2013-01-15): Hi, i'm now at day 11 after having my tonsils removed, Septoplasty and uvula trimmed, I am over the worst but still have plenty of pain which is under control. the breathing through my nose is a lot better, I can use both sides now, before one side of my nose was completely blocked up, My wife says I am still making noise when I am asleep, though a different noise compared to before the op, could this still be down to swelling the doctor said it could take up to six weeks to completely work but most people seem to say their snoring stopped straight after the op or it has not worked. has it worked for anyone after 2 weeks?

Verna (2013-03-01): Hi people's, I don't know if anyone goes on here anymore, but I had my uvula and tonsils removed about 7 years ago. This was mainly due to it getting swollen all the time and my snoring. Well I can tell you I unfortunately went through all of that for nothing, and I have heard since it has a very low success rate if you are trying to cure snoring, it comes back :( sorry for the bad news hopefully you will be one of the lucky 20%. V

Erik (2013-03-02): Hi Verna. I'm sorry you didn't get what you wanted. I too snore still, 11 years after the surgery. However, I do not have the sleep apnea that was the primary reason I went under the knife.

Paul (2013-03-05): i had just had my tonsils an uvula an also got the septoplasty done this past thursday i was wondering wat im looking at for recovery time appormitly as i went back to work two days after my surgery

Matt (2013-03-13): Paul, there is no way you can cope with going back to work after two days, if you did let us all know how you got on!!
Me I am now 9 weeks since my op, the good is no snoring, my Asthma is 100% better, the only bad is taking a big drink sometimes goes down the wrong way and my taste buds are not the same.
I lost over 22 pound in the first three weeks after the op but put back on 9 pound between week 4 and 5, managed to get that back off over the last month but its harder when you can eat and drink. If I had the chance again I would defiantly have all the procedures again, My wife and I have slept in the same bed since week 2, any questions I will check back on here and answer every few weeks because after going through the first few weeks I really needed reassuring.

Shada (2013-07-22): It's such a painful experience... would not recommend to anyone.
I did septoplasty, tonsils and uvula reduction. My Dr made a misake and removed my Uvula completely.

Donna (2013-10-18): Thanks everyone for your sharing. i am considering a tonsillectomy. For me because if have tonsil stones and constant minor sore throat (but it is disgusting) My dr wants to also take the uvula and cut into the soft pallet of the roof of my mouth. I just found out i have severe rem apnea, dropping ox level to 70%. I am starting CPAP next week. Going to see how that goes first and work up the courage to to the tonsillectomy.

Michael Fla. (2013-11-03): Just had my toncillectomy and Uvulaectomy four days ago. The pain is mainly from the toncills area and I am taking liquid pain med hydroco/acetamin everythree hours. I can not swollow anything without first taking pain med. Will this get better or stay this way until throat has healed? I did the surgery due to sleep apnea.

CHRIS K (2013-11-13): Getting a bit nervous reading all this stuff about uvula removal mine is really long and thick i can touch my tonge with it. real bad sleep Apnia problem too. Does it really help?

B (2013-12-06): Had my surgery three days ago, uvula reduction and tonsillectomy, on the back of at urbanite reduction and septoplasty last month. The medication is helping with the pain, my throat is exceptionally sore and the stitching on the uvula is really painful as it catches my tongue. Drinking and eating is painful, but necessary for recovery. Overall surprised that the pain is not as bad as I had expected but hear that it gets worse after day six/seven.

HERROELM@AOL.COM (2013-12-13): I have a similar condition currently that Brad has, 2 months or more, still feels like somethings in my throat above my palete. Would loive to hear how you made out Brad...

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