What is a Tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy is an operation to remove the tonsils. The tonsils are part of a group of lymphoid tissues (like the glands in your neck) that help to fight off infection in the mouth.

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Tonsillectomy ​- who is it for?

Who Is Tonsillectomy For?

A tonsillectomy is for patients who experience repeated bouts of tonsillitis, which can cause pain, fever and difficulty in swallowing.

What are the benefits?

A tonsillectomy is the only dependable way to stop tonsillitis from recurring.

If you are an adult, your doctor may be concerned that there is underlying cancer, especially if one of your tonsils is larger than the other, has an ulcer on it or you have confirmed cancer in the glands of your neck.

What happens During Surgery?

For children, the operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 30 minutes.

The surgeon will perform the tonsillectomy through your child’s mouth using one of the following techniques:

  • Cold dissection technique – A steel instrument is used to peel or cut the tonsil away from the layer of muscle underneath it.
  • Diathermy technique – A special instrument that uses an electrical current to remove tonsil tissue and stem bleeding.
  • Coblation technique – Your surgeon will use an instrument that uses radio-frequency energy to dissolve the tonsil.


For adults, surgery usually involves the cold dissection technique or the diathermy technique to perform the tonsillectomy.

How long will I stay in hospital?

For adults, you should be able to go home the next day.

For children, they should be able to go home the same day or the day after.

What is my recovery time?

The pain can last for up to 2 weeks. It usually gets gradually worse over the first 4 to 5 days before beginning to improve and tends to be worse first thing in the morning.

For both adults and children, you will need to stay off work or school and away from groups of people for 2 weeks. This is to help prevent throat infections while the throat is still healing.

For adults, regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a full recovery and return to normal activities.

SURGERY - criteria

Do you qualify for This Self Pay Procedure?

You are suitable for this surgery if:

  • You are over 16 years of age
  • You are not pregnant
  • You do not require complex rehabilitation or have a chronic disease that would require immediate post-operative care in an intensive care unit
  • You do not have sickle cell anaemia, renal failure or have had a cardiac arrest or cardiac intervention (e.g. insertions of stents) in the last six months

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