Dr Sonia's ENT

ENT Specialist, Head & Neck Surgeon,Bangalore
Dr Sonia Suprabha Venugopal

ENT Health Articles


Posted on June 23, 2010 at 5:38 AM

By Dr Sonia Suprabha Venugopal, ENT Specialist Bangalore

What is a Tonsillectomy?

Tonsillectomy is a procedure done to remove the tonsils situated on the side of your throat.

Though there are many reasons your doctor may advise you to remove the tonsils ,the international guidelines  in majority situations are:-

Absolute indications[Compulsory removal]

◦Enlarged tonsils that cause upper airway obstruction, severe swallowing problem[dysphagia], sleep disorders[sleep apnoea], or cardiopulmonary complications[heart -lung problems]

◦Peritonsillar abscess -If a child or adult has had a peritonsillar abscess in the past the recommendation is to remove the tonsils after recovery as there is chance for such severe infections again in the future .

◦Tonsillitis resulting in febrile convulsions[ fits/ seizures]

◦Tonsils requiring biopsy to define tissue pathology  as in doubt of cancer or other diseases.

Other indications

◦3 or more tonsil infections per year despite adequate medical therapy

◦Persistent foul taste or breath [halitosis]due to chronic tonsillitis that is not responsive to medical therapy

◦Chronic or recurrent tonsillitis

◦Unilateral tonsil hypertrophy that is presumed to be neoplastic[cancer]. One sided tonsillar enlargement is especially notorious for harboring diseases such as cancer hence if your doctor finds a one sided enlargement or a suspicious looking tonsil he/ she may recommend removal of the tonsil and histopathological examination [ examination under the microscope]

Is it inadvisable to remove the tonsils?

The tonsils are a vestigeal structure in our body and no harm comes from removal of the tonsils .On the other hand keeping a diseased tonsil with clear cut indications for removal will do more harm to the body.

In certain situations the removal of the tonsils are not recommended.Such situations are:-

Bleeding disorders such as haemophilia

Anaemia[low Hemoglobin]

Poor Anaesthesia Risk

During the episode of Acute infection [Ongoing infection with severe pain and fever] 

 How is tonsillectomy done?

Tonsillectomy is safest done under  general anaesthesia[the patient will be sleeping during the procedure].Various techniques may be used to prform a tonsillectomy and you may discuss the modality best suited for you with Dr Sonia.

Techinques of Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy can be done by various methods

Cold Knife


Dissection method

How long does the procedure take?

Though the actual removal of the tonsils takes only some minutes the whole process including the anaesthesia may take about half an hour to one hour.

When can I / my child go home?

In selected cases tonsillectomy can be done as a daycare procedure, that is you can go home the same day. In other cases you may go home next day morning.

What are the complications of tonsillectomy?

The main complication of tonsillectomy is bleeding and that is why in certain cases  doctor may advise you to stay overnight to be on the safe side.

Will I have pain after the procedure?

Some amount of pain will occur after the procedure and Dr Sonia will give you pain killers to take care of it.

What  are the precautions after tonsillectomy?

  • You will be prescribed antibiotics and pain killers after the tonsillectomy.Take the medicines prescribed by Dr Sonia on time.
  • Pain killers are generally best taken after food so as to avoid gastric irritation.
  • Try to gargle with salt water or the medication prescribed as frequently as possible as this helps tremendously in early healing and pain relief.
  • Special medicated analgesic[pain relieving] gargles will be prescribed by Dr Sonia depending on the individaul case- If there is pain on eating ,you may  gargle with these medicines 10 minutes before eating so as to enable you to eat and drink well.
  • Drink enough water and have adequate food - both these allow early healing and optimal recovery.
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene by brushing the teeth twice a day.
  • Be careful while eating fish with thorns.
  • Avoid hard chips such as banana and tapioca chips for  10 days after the tonsillectomy

Dr Sonia Suprabha Venugopal


Consultant ENT & Head & Neck Surgery

Sonia & Prateek's ENT Speciality Center,Sahakaranagar, Bangalore




ENT Specialist Bangalore


Categories: Throat, Head and Neck Cancer