Patient Experiences in 


Patient Experiences in Tonsillectomy


MGP, male, age 8

Date of tonsillectomy – July 7, 2010

My son exhibited learning difficulties, and we’d been warned that something was wrong ever since the first month of Preschool. After many years of trying to deal with the issues in different ways, we finally paid for a full evaluation. We were told he was on the autism spectrum and were given four additional learning & physical diagnoses. It was recommended that he go into a special day class at school.

About a month later I had an appointment with Dr Li (I was about to have MMA surgery) and there was a school holiday so I brought my son with me. Dr Li took one glance at my son from across the room and said, he has your jaw; you should have him tested for sleep apnea. He was tested the next week at Stanford, and sure enough, he had a high apnea/hypopnea score (26/hour). We had Orthodontist Stacy Quo install jaw expanders and three months later Michael had his tonsils and adenoids removed. Our insurance only partially covered Dr Li’s fees and we could have had them removed by an ENT surgeon at no cost to us. But by then I’d had my MMA and there wasn’t another surgeon I would trust. In addition, I wanted a surgeon who would remove his tonsils with the concept of opening his airway. And lastly, Dr Li uses only sutures to close the wound. I could not find any independent research that supports this as a superior method, but I trust Dr Li’s opinion that it’s a less painful process and less likely to open post surgery.

Michael’s surgery went as planned, the surgery was over quickly and I was able to stay with him in the recovery room. We brought him home and didn’t have any problems with the recovery at all.

What we did have was a remarkable change in our son. It takes awhile to see the changes, and he had some bad habits of avoiding schoolwork that he had to overcome, but now, 10 months later, he’s a typical 3rd grader, fully integrated into the regular classroom and for the first time in his life, on track socially. It’s been a great year and I’m ever so grateful to Dr Li, for my own surgery, and more importantly, for my son’s. He has changed both of our lives.