The tonsils are two oval-shaped glands located on each side of the back of the throat. Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected, swell and cause a sore throat. Other symptoms of tonsillitis include fever, difficulty swallowing and swollen glands in the neck.

Who needs a tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy is usually performed in children or adults that are sick with tonsillitis multiple times throughout the year. In addition, a tonsillectomy can often help people with breathing problems caused by swollen tonsils such as sleep apnea or loud and frequent snoring.


A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils. A tonsillectomy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia in an operating room. Most patients are able to go home the day of the surgery. However, an overnight stay is sometimes necessary if complications arise or if the patient is a young child or has a complex medical condition. Recovery time for a tonsillectomy is usually 10-14 days.


An adenoidectomy often will be done at the same time as the tonsillectomy. Adenoids are also small glands or masses of tissue located behind the nose and the roof of the mouth. Your physician will need a special instrument to see them. Both the adenoids and the tonsils are responsible for trapping germs that pass through your mouth and nose. Sometimes they get overwhelmed with germs and bacteria and become infected and swollen in addition to your tonsils.

Experiencing some pain after a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy can be expected. The pain is usually in the throat, but it may also occur in the ears, jaw or neck. Take pain medications as directed by your doctor. It’s important to get plenty of fluids and rest after surgery. Drink lots of water and eat foods that are easy to swallow, such as applesauce, ice pops or broth. Ice cream and pudding can be added to the diet after a few days if they’re tolerated. Other easy to chew foods can be added when your throat begins to heal. Strenuous activities, such as running and bike riding, should be avoided for two weeks after surgery. You or your child should be able to return to work or school after resuming a normal diet, sleeping normally through the night and not needing pain medication.


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