The only thing Luke Ryterski loves more than playing video and computer games is getting outside for a high-energy paintball match with his four older brothers. However, until recently, running was a struggle for Luke, 13, because his adenoids were swollen and blocking the airway in his nose.
Adenoids are lymphoid tissue located in the back of the nose where the nose joins the throat. When that tissue becomes swollen, children such as Luke have trouble breathing, which can lead to interrupted sleep, snoring and even sleep apnea.
A Whole New Person
“Before I had surgery, I couldn’t breathe through here,” Luke explains by putting his hands to his nose and squeezing his nostrils together. “I really had trouble waking up in the morning, and I’d fall asleep in math class during third hour.”
But since his surgery, “it’s like he is a whole new person,” says Luke’s mom, Debbie Creamer.
Luke originally had his adenoids and tonsils removed in 2001, but the adenoids grew back and blocked his airway again. Now, for the first time in six years, he is breathing clearly.
In November 2007, Luke had his adenoids removed at Cardinal Glennon’s Pediatric Surgery Center, which is located at St. Anthony’s Medical Center. This type of surgery, and tonsillectomies, are fairly common operations, says John Stith, MD, pediatric ear, nose and throat surgeon at Cardinal Glennon.
“This is more of a temporary problem, since people’s adenoids and tonsils shrink once they become adults, but it can become a quality of life issue for children when they become swollen,” Dr. Stith says. “The most common complaint is sleep disturbance or their mouth gets really dry.”
Convenient South County Location
At the St. Anthony’s Pediatric Surgery Center, Dr. Stith can perform the operation and send a patient home the same day. The center in South County is staffed by Cardinal Glennon pediatric surgeons and anesthesiologists, and provides a convenient alternative to families who live south of St. Louis or in Illinois. Luke’s family made the drive from Collinsville.
“Going to St. Anthony’s was nice because we didn’t have to drive over the Poplar Street Bridge; we could just zip over on the highway,” Creamer said. “When we got there, Dr. Stith came into Luke’s room and explained everything to us. He joked around with Luke and that put him in a good mood and made him more relaxed. The nurse even brought him warm blankets when he was cold.”
In addition to taking out adenoids and tonsils, Dr. Stith and his colleagues put in ear tubes and perform other minor procedures at St. Anthony’s. Ophthalmology and orhopaedic surgery is also available.