tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy

Tonsils are the two small glands that are present on the back side of the throat. The adenoids are clumps of tissue located behind the nasal cavity.

Tonsils and adenoids are masses of lymphoid tissue containing WBC to help in fighting infection, but sometimes get infected due to the trapping of excess bacteria.


Tonsils and adenoids are removed when they become large and inflamed which may cause infections. It’s called tonsillitis and adenoiditis.

The surgical procedure to remove tonsils is tonsillectomy.

The surgical procedure to remove adenoids is an adenoidectomy.

They are often removed at the same time so it’s called a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy or T&A or adenotonsillectomy.


  • T&A for tonsillitis and adenoiditis who don’t respond to other treatments.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Recurrent infections
  • Tonsil stones
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Tumors in the throat or nasal passage
  • Uncontrolled bleeding from tonsils.
  • Breathing difficulty due to blocked nasal passage.

T&A is common in children but used for adults who are prone to tonsillitis. If it is not relieved on its own or, antibiotics didn’t work adenotonsillectomy is done.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology offers guidelines to know if T&A is the right option for children :

  • 7 sore throats in 1 year
  • 5 sore throats in each of 2 years
  • 3 sore throats in each of 3 years

A sore throat may be associated with fever, red-colored throat, and tonsils covered with whitish or yellow color coating.


  • Stop taking anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen before 2 weeks of tonsillectomy surgery as they increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking medications, herbs, or any vitamins
  • Fast after midnight before T&A to prevent nausea due to anesthesia.
  • Take support from family or caretaker for a few days after surgery.
  • Rest at least for 1 week at home and refrain from work or school.


There are several surgical ways to remove tonsils and adenoids. Some of those are :

  • COLD KNIFE DISSECTION: It is a common way to remove tonsils by using a scalpel. Bleeding is seized by either suturing or using heat.
  • CAUTERIZATION: By burning the tissues.
  • ULTRASONIC VIBRATION: Sound waves are used to cut and stop bleeding.
  • Others: Microdebrider, carbon dioxide laser.

The procedure takes half an hour to be completed.

You will not feel any pain due to anesthetics.

After you wake up medical staff watch your pulse and blood pressure.

Most of the people are discharged on the same day of their surgery.


  • You may feel pain as you recover from surgery.
  • Sore throat after surgery, pain in the jaw, ear, and neck may occur.
  • The doctor may prescribe pain relievers and take them as prescribed.
  • Rest for 2 to 4 days after surgery and it may take 2 weeks for tonsillectomy recovery in adults.
  • Consult a doctor if bleeding, fever, dehydration, or trouble breathing are present. Discoloration after surgery will be gone after 4 to 6 weeks.


Initially take water, and ice pops without hurting your throat.

Slowly you can consume soft and relaxed foods like smoothies, ice cream, pudding, and oatmeal for 1 week. 

You can also take scrambled eggs, broth, yogurt, and mashed potatoes.


Like any other surgical procedure there are possible risks of T&A :

Swelling, infection, bleeding, reaction to anesthesia. Consult your doctor if any of these are observed after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

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