Kelli Rudman, M.D.
Tonsil removal surgery is called a tonsillectomy. The tonsils are the two round tissues that live in the back of the throat. They stop the germs that enter the body when we breathe from going past the throat. Though the tonsils are the first line of defense in the immune system, some patients may benefit from having the tissue removed from the throat completely.
One common reason for removing the tonsils is to prevent future infections. Since the job of the tonsils is to stop bacteria and viruses from entering the body, the tissues are exposed to a large number of immune system threats. Sometimes the organs cannot keep up and a patient may develop chronic tonsil infections, or
Doctors may also recommend a tonsillectomy if a tonsillitis episode is not improving after antibiotic treatment.
Research shows that the benefit outweighs the risk of a tonsillectomy if your child has tonsillitis:
Another reason a tonsillectomy may be performed is to improve bodily functions that are hindered by enlarged tonsils. Oversized tonsil tissue can cause difficulty breathing, stops in breathing during sleep and difficulty swallowing.
Less common reasons for removing the tonsils include cancer and recurrent tonsil bleeding.
The tonsillectomy surgery is a short procedure. Patients are usually in surgery for less than an hour and able to go home the same day.
After surgery, patients will typically need 10 – 14 days to recover. During this time, the goal is to focus on pain management and rest. Tonsillectomy patients may experience the following after their procedure:
As with all surgeries, it is important to increase fluid intake and time spent resting to achieve a healthy recovery. After your tonsil removal surgery:
Follow-up appointments after tonsil removal are usually scheduled 1 – 2 weeks after discharge. Though kids generally do well after a tonsillectomy and it is a routine procedure, there are complications to be aware of.
Contact your physician if: