Site Map

Tonsillectomy

Tonsils removal

Tonsillectomy is surgery to remove the tonsils.

The tonsils are glands at the back of your throat. The tonsils are often removed along with the adenoid glands. That surgery is called adenoidectomy and most often done in children.

Images

Throat anatomy

Presantation

Tonsillectomy - Series

I Would Like to Learn About:

Description

The surgery is done while the child is under general anesthesia. Your child will be asleep and pain-free.

After surgery, your child will stay in the recovery room until they are awake and can breathe easily, cough, and swallow. Most children go home several hours after this surgery.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

The tonsils help protect against infections. But children with large tonsils may have many sore throats and ear infections.

You and your child's health care provider may consider a tonsillectomy if:

Risks

Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general include:

Rarely, bleeding after surgery can go unnoticed and cause very bad problems. Swallowing a lot may be a sign of bleeding from the tonsils.

Another risk includes injury to the uvula (soft palate).

Before the Procedure

Your child's provider may ask your child to have:

Always tell your child's provider:

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

A tonsillectomy is most often done in a hospital or surgery center. Your child will go home the same day as the surgery. Children rarely need to stay overnight in the hospital for observation.

Complete recovery takes about 1 to 2 weeks. During the first week, your child should avoid people who are sick. It will be easier for your child to become infected during this time.

Outlook (Prognosis)

After surgery, the number of throat infections is most often lower, but your child may still get some.

Related Information

Otitis
Tonsillitis
Adenoid removal
Tonsil and adenoid removal - discharge
Tonsil removal - what to ask your doctor

References

Wetmore RF. Tonsils and adenoids. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 375.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 11/25/2014  

Reviewed By: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2016 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com