Tonsillectomy

The tonsils are found at the back of the throat and are part of the lymphoid tissues (glands in your neck) that help protect your body from infection by germs that are breathed or swallowed. If the tonsils become inflamed (tonsillitis), they may need to be removed (tonsillectomy).

Common questions

What is a tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy is an operation to remove the tonsils and it provides long-term relief from repeated bouts of tonsillitis.

What happens during a tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy is carried out under general anaesthetic so you’ll be asleep during the operation. Sometimes it can be carried out as day surgery, when you can return home on the same day; however an overnight stay in hospital is usually required.

The tonsils are removed by carefully cutting or peeling them away from the surrounding tissues. The operation is carried out through your mouth, so no external incisions are required. The procedure, which takes around half an hour, can be performed using a number of different methods:

  • Traditional surgery uses blades to cut out the tonsils. Bleeding is controlled by applying pressure or sealing the blood vessels using heat (cauterising).
  • Diathermy uses a heated probe to destroy tissue around the tonsils, remove the tonsils and simultaneously seal the blood vessels to stop any bleeding.
  • Coblation (or cold ablation) is a similar method to diathermy but uses lower temperatures.
  • Lasers are high-energy beams that can cut away the tonsils and seal the blood vessels to prevent bleeding.
  • Ultrasound uses high-energy waves that work like lasers.

Each of these methods offers a very similar outcome in terms of patient safety, recovery and long-term results.

Contact Benenden Hospital

It’s easy to make an appointment; you can ask your GP or give us a call on 01580 230661.