Secondary Bacterial Infection caused by Tonsillectomy

Secondary Bacterial Infection Associated with Tonsillectomy: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Tonsillectomy is a common procedure for children suffering from sleep-disordered breathing, recurrent or chronic tonsillitis, and peritonsillar abscess. While Tonsillectomy is effective for treating these conditions, there is a risk of developing a secondary bacterial infection after the surgery. These secondary infections can be serious and sometimes require additional medical attention.

Common causes of a secondary bacterial infection following tonsillectomy include exposure to bacteria during the surgery, inadequate hand hygiene, and inadequate use of preoperative antibiotics. To prevent a secondary infection, surgical instruments must be sterilized and disposables should be used whenever possible.

In addition, adequate preoperative antibiotics should be prescribed. Patients should be counseled that there is a risk of developing a secondary infection following a tonsillectomy and they should inform the physician if any signs or symptoms are noticed. Preoperative antibiotics are necessary for some circumstances in which the patient is at increased risk of infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Bacterial Infection

Common signs and symptoms of a secondary bacterial infection include fever, chills, headache, sore throat, swollen tonsils, excessive bleeding, and pus collection. If these symptoms appear shortly after tonsillectomy, the patient should be evaluated for other medical problems or a secondary infection.

Treatment for Secondary Bacterial Infection

Treatment for a secondary bacterial infection includes antibiotics and sometimes surgery. Antibiotics are usually used as treatment, which may include a combination of oral, intravenous, and/or topical medications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the infection. Surgery may involve draining the infected site or removing the infected tonsils.

Prevention of Secondary Bacterial Infection

  • Sterilize surgical instruments before use
  • Use disposable materials whenever possible
  • Prescribe and administer adequate preoperative antibiotics
  • Take good care of wound dressings
  • Properly dispose of moist wound dressings
  • Educate and counsel patients about the risks of developing secondary bacterial infections
  • Encourage good hygiene practices