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If you suffer from a recurring inflammation of your tonsils, known as tonsillitis, the best treatment option may be to have your tonsils removed. This operation, known as a tonsillectomy, is most commonly performed in teenagers and young adults but can be performed on older adults too.

At The London Clinic, we offer tonsillectomy surgery if you experience recurring or severe bouts of tonsillitis. The operation is performed by our consultant ear, nose and throat  surgeons who specialise in treating conditions that affect your ear, nose or throat. 

Surgical methods for having your tonsils out

There are several different surgery options for having your tonsils out, including:

  • Dissection: the most common method for a tonsillectomy, this is when your tonsils are cut out using a scalpel. Once your tonsils have been removed, dissolvable stitches are used to close the wound that has resulted from the incision.
  • Laser or ultrasound: instead of cutting your tonsils out, your surgeon may decide to use laser surgery to remove them. In this surgery, high precision laser beams are used to vaporise the tonsil tissue and smooth the surface that is left. The advantage of laser surgery is that there is typically less pain, less bleeding, and a shorter recovery time than with dissection.
  • Diathermy: in this method, a high-frequency electrical current is used to cut the tonsil tissue and remove it instead of cutting the tonsils out.

A tonsillectomy usually takes around 30 minutes to perform, and you’ll be put under a general anaesthetic for the procedure. When you wake up afterwards, you’ll need to rest in the clinic until the anaesthetic has completely worn off.

Usually you’ll be released on the same day, but you may be required to stay overnight for observation. When you’re ready, your nurses will give you something to eat and drink before allowing you to go home. Your doctor will usually ask you to come back to the Clinic after a few days to check that the operation has been successful.

What to expect after surgery

Recovering from a tonsillectomy usually takes around 2 weeks. Over this period, you’ll typically experience some pain in your throat, especially when swallowing. Some patients will also experience earache, a stiff jaw and bad breath along with a sore throat.

Recovering from having your tonsils out

Your doctor will usually prescribe a painkiller for your sore throat. Applying an ice pack to your throat can also give you relief from the pain and can help to reduce swelling.

You’ll be advised to eat soft foods and drink plenty of fluids for the first couple of weeks after the operation, as well as to avoid clearing your throat and coughing. Because talking may be painful, you’ll usually be advised to avoid talking or whisper instead. For this reason, you may need to take one or two weeks off work as you regain your ability to talk normally without pain.

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