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Tonsillectomy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Cost

Last Updated: Jul 06, 2023

What is Tonsillectomy?

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Tonsillectomy is a surgical treatment that removes the tonsils. Tonsils are small glands that are found on both sides of the throat. They help to fight off infections in the throat and upper respiratory tract, but can become enlarged or infected, resulting in a condition called tonsillitis. The goal of the surgery is to reduce or eliminate recurrent infections and other symptoms caused by enlarged or infected tonsils.

Types of Tonsillectomy:

  • Cold knife tonsillectomy: This is the most common type of tonsillectomy and involves the use of a scalpel or other sharp instrument to remove the tonsils.
  • Coblation (radiofrequency) tonsillectomy: This procedure uses radiofrequency energy to remove the tonsils instead of a scalpel.
  • Laser tonsillectomy: This procedure uses laser energy to remove the tonsils instead of a scalpel.
  • Microdebrider tonsillectomy: This procedure uses a specialised instrument called a microdebrider to remove the tonsils instead of a scalpel.

Benefits of Tonsillectomy:

  • The main benefit of a tonsillectomy is that it can help reduce the frequency and severity of throat infections.
  • After a tonsillectomy, many people experience fewer sore throats and fewer bouts of illness.
  • Additionally, because the removed tissue no longer contains bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause infection, it may also reduce cases of bad breath.
  • Other benefits include improved sleep quality due to less snoring and reduced risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
  • In addition to these physical benefits, many people report feeling better emotionally after having their tonsils removed since they no longer have to deal with chronic pain and discomfort associated with recurrent infections.

Why is Tonsillectomy done?

  • Most of the time, a tonsillectomy is done to treat chronic tonsillitis, which is an infection of the tonsils that causes them to become inflamed.
  • Other reasons for a tonsillectomy include recurrent throat infections, sleep apnea, and difficulty swallowing due to enlarged tonsils.
  • Tonsillectomies can also be done to remove benign (non-cancerous) tumors growing in the area of the tonsils.


What are the risks of Tonsillectomy?

Tonsillectomy has the same risks as other surgeries:

  • Bleeding either during or after the procedure.
  • Infection
  • Discomfort or pain in the throat.
  • Swelling of the throat.
  • Anaesthesia effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or sleepiness.
  • Difficulty swallowing for a period of time after the surgery.

How do I prepare for Tonsillectomy?

It is essential to prepare for a tonsillectomy before the surgery. This includes the following:

  • Talk to your doctor: Make sure to discuss all the risks and benefits of the surgery with your doctor, and make sure you understand what will happen during the procedure.
  • Get all necessary tests done: Depending on your health history and age, you may need to get blood tests or other tests done before the surgery.
  • Follow pre-surgery instructions: Your doctor will most likely give you particular advice on how to prepare for the procedure, such as fasting before the procedure or discontinuing certain drugs prior to the procedure. To achieve a satisfactory outcome, carefully follow these directions.
  • Arrange transportation home: After the surgery, you will need someone to drive you home safely when it is time for discharge from the hospital or clinic where you had your tonsillectomy performed.
  • Stock up on supplies: You may want to stock up on supplies such as soft foods, throat lozenges and pain medication in advance so that you have them available after your tonsillectomy when needed for recovery purposes.

How Tonsillectomy is done?

During the procedure, an incision is made in each side of the throat and the tonsils are cut away from their attachments and removed. The patient is usually given general anesthesia for this procedure. After surgery, patients may experience discomfort and swelling in the throat for several days or weeks.

Steps to perform Before the procedure

  • Obtain informed consent from the patient.
  • Perform a physical examination of the patient to assess their overall health and determine if any additional tests are needed prior to surgery.
  • Ensure that all necessary equipment is available for use during the procedure, including suction devices and cautery tools for hemostasis (stopping bleeding).
  • Administer pre-operative antibiotics if indicated by patient history or physical examination findings.
  • Have an anesthesiologist present during the procedure if general anesthesia will be used for sedation or pain control during surgery.
  • If necessary, insert an intravenous catheter to provide fluids or drugs during operation.
  • Place an endotracheal tube in order to provide positive pressure ventilation with oxygen during general anesthesia if required by patient condition or age group (such as pediatric patients).

Steps to perform During the procedure

  • The patient is given general anesthesia to ensure they remain asleep and comfortable throughout the procedure.
  • The tonsils are exposed by an incision at the back of the throat.
  • The surgeon then uses a scalpel to remove the tonsils from their position in the throat.
  • If required, any existent adenoids may also be eliminated at this time.
  • To clear any leftover tissue or debris from the throat, a suction device is used.
  • Stitches are placed to close up the incision and help promote healing of the area after surgery has been completed.

Steps of perform After the procedure

  • The patient is monitored closely until they wake up from general anesthesia and then taken care of by a medical professional during recovery time in order for them to heal properly after their procedure has been completed successfully.
  • Administer prescribed medications, such as antibiotics and pain relievers.
  • Change dressings around the surgical site as needed to keep it clean and dry.
  • While offering emotional support, listen to the patient's concerns and address any questions they may have on the healing process.

How much does Tonsillectomy cost in India?

Tonsillectomy costs in India might range widely based on the specific surgery that is being performed, the facility that is being used, and the location of the hospital. In most cases, the price might vary anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 Indian Rupees.

What to eat after Tonsillectomy?

After a tonsillectomy, it is important to eat soft, cool foods that are easy to swallow. These can include:

  • Pudding
  • Smoothies
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soups (such as broth or pureed vegetable)
  • Soft cooked vegetables (such as carrots or potatoes)
  • Cooked cereals (such as oatmea)
  • Eggs (cooked soft such as scrambled eggs).

Is Tonsillectomy safe?

Yes, tonsillectomy is often a very safe process. The most common complications are related to bleeding and infection, but these risks can be minimized with proper pre- and post-operative care.

Is Tonsillectomy painful?

Yes, a tonsillectomy is a painful procedure. The recovery period can involve swelling, soreness, and difficulty eating and drinking. During the healing process, painkillers are often recommended to aid with pain management.

How long does it take to recover from Tonsillectomy?

Depending on the patient and the kind of operation done, a tonsillectomy recovery period varies. An individual typically needs two weeks to recuperate following surgery. During this time, they may experience sore throat, pain while swallowing, and fatigue.

What are the side effects of Tonsillectomy?

The most frequent side effects of a tonsillectomy include painful throat, ear pain, trouble swallowing, and poor breath. Other possible side effects include fever, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and bleeding.

Tonsillectomy Aftercare:

After a tonsillectomy, it's very important to take good care of yourself and do what the doctor tells you to do.

  • Rest: Resting is essential after a tonsillectomy. This will help the body heal and reduce the risk of complications.
  • Pain Management: Pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage pain after a tonsillectomy, however it is best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids will help reduce pain and swelling, as well as prevent dehydration which can lead to further complications.
  • Diet: Eating soft foods and avoiding spicy, hard, or acidic foods can help reduce discomfort during recovery from a tonsillectomy.
  • Avoiding Activities: Certain activities such as strenuous exercise and swimming should be avoided until your doctor tells you it is safe to do so in order to avoid excessive bleeding or infection risks associated with these activities while recovering from surgery.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: Following up with your doctor for post-operative checkups is an important part of recovery from a tonsillectomy in order to monitor healing progress and address any concerns that may arise during the healing process.


A tonsillectomy can be a difficult decision for many parents and patients, but it can be very beneficial in the long run. It is important to consider all of the risks and benefits before deciding if a tonsillectomy is right for you or your child. With proper care and follow-up, a tonsillectomy can help reduce symptoms of recurrent throat infections and improve quality of life.

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Written ByDr. Anjan Jyoti BhuyanMS - ENTEar-Nose-Throat (ENT)
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