Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page
 

Tonsillectomy


Alternative Names:

Tonsils removal

Description:

The surgery is done while the child is under general anesthesia. Your child will be asleep and pain free.

  • The surgeon will place a small tool into your child’s mouth to hold it open.
  • The surgeon then cuts or burns away the tonsils. The doctor will control bleeding. The wounds heal naturally without stitches.

After surgery, your child will stay in the recovery room until he or she is awake and can breathe easily, cough, and swallow. Most children go home several hours after this surgery.

Why the Procedure Is Performed:

The tonsils help protect against infections. But children with large tonsils may have many sore throats and ear infections.

You and your child’s doctor may consider a tonsillectomy if:

  • Your child has infections often (seven or more times in 1 year, or five or more times over 2 years).
  • Your child misses a lot of school.
  • Your child has trouble breathing.
  • Your child has abscess or growth on their tonsils.
Risks:

The risks for any anesthesia are:

The risks for any surgery are:

Rarely, bleeding after surgery can go unnoticed and cause very bad problems. Swallowing a lot may be a sign of bleeding from the tonsils.

Another risk includes injury to the uvula (soft palate).

Outlook (Prognosis):

After surgery, the number of throat infections is usually lower, but your child will still get some.

References:

Wetmore RF. Tonsils and adenoids. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 375.


Review Date: 11/12/2012
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History
  Tonsillectomy

Related Links
Request an Appointment Online or call
1-800-789-PENN (7366)
Adenoid removal
Otitis
Tonsillitis
   
   

 

About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania