When you think about surgery to have tonsils removed, operations for children could spring to mind. Tonsil surgery is common for children because of the fast recovery for their age group, and it’s not a common surgery for adults. Adults can also benefit from the tonsil surgery procedure, especially where things like sleep apnea are concerned.

Research shows that tonsil surgery can prevent so many different recurring issues that are interrupting your life. This includes tonsillitis and a recurring sore throat. The biggest question you’ll have for your doctor is whether this is the right procedure for you.

What are the signs you need tonsil surgery?

The tonsils are large glands sitting in the back of the throat. You’ll find them on both sides, and they play an important role in fighting infections and trapping bacteria in the throat. Though they are great to help your immune system, they’re not necessary – which is why it’s totally fine if your tonsils have to come out. Tonsillectomies are common for children, but there are plenty of instances where adults could benefit, too. Below, we’ve got a list of the signs that you may need a tonsil surgery – and your ENT doctor can confirm this for you!

Chronic tonsillitis

When your tonsils are infected for more than five instances per year, this is considered to be chronic. When they are large and inflamed, you will find yourself in a lot of pain and needing antibiotics to bring the swelling down. Tonsillitis is often treated by an ENT doctor with medication, but when it becomes a constant problem, a tonsillectomy may be the best option.

No response to antibiotics

If you are continuously having an issue with your tonsils and the antibiotics stop working, you need to speak to your ENT doctor about tonsil surgery. This is especially the case if you are allergic to antibiotics, too.

Your tonsils are always enlarged

Enlarged tonsils can cause other complications in life, such as trouble swallowing and obstructive sleep apnea. This can prevent you from breathing adequately during your sleep. Taking the tonsils out removes the obstruction and helps to treat the condition at the same time. Sleep apnea in children is linked to larger tonsils, which is why they often recommend removal. While it won’t necessarily be a cure for sleep apnea in adults, it’s a step in the right direction.

Tonsil growths

It may not have been considered before, but HPV (human papillomavirus) can be the root cause of cancer of the tonsils. If you have growths on your tonsils, the cause can be cancer, and an ENT doctor can rule this out with you and schedule surgery to get rid of the chance of recurrence. If there are any reasons to worry, your ENT may want to take them out.


Have you ever heard of those balls of bacteria that form in the crypts of tonsils? Those little nuggets of disgusting are called tonsilloliths, and they are purely little balls of germs. They can cause discomfort, and they can be the cause of bad breath, too.

When you should see an ENT doctor

Sore throats are not an uncommon issue, and they can occur with colds and other viruses. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, the best thing that you can do is speak to your ENT doctor and get some help:

  • Pain in one tonsil or both
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A hoarse voice or one that’s non-existent
  • High fever
  • Enlarged glands in the neck
  • Yellow pus coating the tonsils
  • Sore throat that returns repeatedly

What to expect from tonsil surgery

Tonsil surgery is performed under anesthesia. You will be asleep for the procedure, and several techniques can be used for tonsil surgery. It takes around an hour to complete, and the risks are present but rare. The risks include infection and bleeding, and your ENT doctor will walk you through it all. There is no question that tonsil surgery is a big deal, but it’s a last resort option for those who are already missing out on a lot of life because of pain and infection on repeat.

Over-the-counter pain medications should help with sore throats, but after a tonsillectomy, you still may feel sore when you are ill. The soreness just won’t be as severe as with infected tonsils. If you are at all concerned about your tonsils and infections that are happening to you, contact ENT Specialists at (402) 983-9948!