Tonsillectomy- Ear Nose And Throat (ENT), General Surgery

Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the tonsils. The tonsils are two oval-shaped tissues situated at the back of the throat, one on each side.

The tonsillectomy was once a typical technique to treat infection of the tonsils, which is also known as tonsillitis. Today, a tonsillectomy is generally performed for sleep apnea yet may still be done when tonsillitis happens frequently and will not respond to different medications.

A tonsillectomy may likewise be needed to treat breathing problems and different issues relating to tonsil diseases, such as enlargement of the tonsils.

Recovery time for a tonsillectomy ranges from 10 days to 14 days.

Why is tonsillectomy required?

A tonsillectomy is used to treat:

  • Recurrent, chronic or severe tonsillitis
  • Complications caused by enlarged tonsils
  • Bleeding of the tonsils
  • Other uncommon diseases of the tonsils

Which doctor to consult?

Talk to a otolaryngologist/ENT surgeon, who will explain to you about the procedure, the risks and after-care.

What to expect during tonsillectomy?

Tonsillectomy is generally done as an outpatient technique. This implies that you can return home on the day of the procedure. You can stay overnight in the hospital if there are complications or if the procedure is done on a child, or if you have another medical condition.

Since a tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthesia, you or your child won't experience anything, including pain, during the medical procedure.

The specialist may remove the tonsils with a scalpel or a particular surgical instrument that uses heat or waves to remove tissues and prevent bleeding.

Post-operative care

Almost everybody experiences pain after a tonsillectomy. Pain is felt in the throat and often in the ears, yet may also be felt in the jaw or in the neck.

Here are the steps that you can take to diminish pain and facilitate faster healing:


Take medicines as prescribed by the doctor or the hospital staff.


It's important that you drink a lot of fluids after the procedure to avoid dehydration. You can have water or ice pops.


You can try bland foods that are easy to eat such as broth and sauces after the procedure. You can also take ice cream and pudding once you can tolerate them. Consume foods that are easy to bite and swallow. Keep away from acidic, hot, hard or crunchy foods, as they may cause bleeding or pain.


Bed rest is essential for a few days after the procedure, and strenuous exercises like running and bicycle riding should be avoided within two weeks after the surgery. You or your child can come back to work or school and resume your usual diet after this period. Converse with your doctor about any activities that you need to stay away from.


Tonsillectomy, just like other different procedures, has certain risks, though they are uncommon:

Reactions to anesthetics

Drugs that can make you sleep during the surgical procedure may cause minor, transient issues such as headache, nausea, vomiting, or muscle aches. These are all temporary.


Swelling of the tongue and the soft palate may cause breathing issues, especially during the initial hours after surgery. However, this is rare.

Bleeding during surgery

In uncommon cases, bleeding may happen during the procedure. Talk to your doctor if you are at risk.

Bleeding during healing

Bleeding may also happen while healing, especially if the clot from the wound is removed too early. This is a minor problem and may resolve on its own.


Rarely, the procedure can lead to an infection that requires further treatment. Talk to your doctor to know if you are at risk.


  • Tonsillectomy - Mayo Clinic. Published 2019. Accessed January 14, 2019.
  • Tonsillectomy Facts in the U.S.: From ENT Doctors. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Published 2019. Accessed January 14, 2019.

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