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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Tonsillectomy?

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

Tonsillectomy is most often done when other nonsurgical treatments have not worked for:

  • Chronic or recurrent tonsil infections—Tonsillectomy may reduce the number, but will not completely eliminate, these infections.
  • Peritonsillar abscess (pocket of infection spreading outside the tonsil)
  • Enlarged tonsils causing obstruction of the throat

The Tonsils
The Tonsils
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Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a tonsillectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Temporary breathing problems
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Vomiting and dehydration
  • Infection

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Chronic illness
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Recent or current steroid use
  • Diabetes
  • Intake of anticoagulants or aspirin products
  • Dehydration

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before your tonsillectomy.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the...