Tonsillectomy Procedure

Tonsils are glands at the back of the throat that help to fight infection by making antibodies.

What is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected and swollen due to bacterial or viral infections, or due to acid reflux. When infected or swollen, the tonsils can cause sore throats, bad breath and difficulty swallowing; they can also cause sleep apnea and loud snoring. The most common solution for this problem is to have them removed. In most cases, removal of tonsils will only be performed for patients that have had multiple cases of tonsillitis; a single case will usually not be cause enough for them to be taken out.

Tonsillectomy

This is the procedure for the removal of tonsils. The tonsillectomy procedure is more commonly used for children than for adults; however, adults do sometimes have it performed to treat problems like sleep apnea.

Tonsillectomies are performed under general anesthesia and usually take less than an hour. The most common methods of removing tonsils is for them to either be cut away with a scalpel or to be cauterized; ultrasonic vibration or lasers can also be used. The tonsils are removed through the mouth without the need to make external incisions.

Most tonsillectomies are outpatient procedures; the patient will be able to go home once they are awake. Once home, the patient’s head should be kept elevated and ice can be applied to the neck; both of these steps can help to decrease swelling. The at-home recovery period will usually last a week.