Tonsillectomy

The tonsils are glands in the back of the throat. A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the site where the tonsils were removed
    • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery, or which last for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given, especially if it prevents you from drinking fluids
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Spitting or vomiting blood
    • New, unexplained symptoms

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    The tonsils are glands in the back of the throat. A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    Tonsillectomy is most often done when other nonsurgical treatments have not worked for:

    • Chronic or recurrent tonsil infections—Tonsillectomy may reduce the number, but will not completely eliminate these infections.
    • Peritonsillar abscess—pocket of infection spreading outside the tonsil
    • Enlarged tonsils causing obstruction of the throat
    The Tonsils
    IMAGE
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  • Possible Complications

    Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a tonsillectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Bleeding
    • Temporary breathing problems
    • Adverse reaction to anesthesia

    • Vomiting and
      dehydration
    • Infection

    Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Obesity
    • Smoking
    • Poor nutrition
    • Chronic illness
    • Sickle cell anemia
    • Bleeding disorders
    • Recent or current steroid use
    • Diabetes
    • Taking anticoagulants or aspirin products
    • Dehydration

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before your tonsillectomy.