Remove tonsils

Removing the tonsils, also called tonsil cutting, is unfortunately not a painless matter. In the past, tonsils were cut faster and more often than today. Because tonsils play a role in building up our body’s defense mechanism, tonsils are nowadays only cut when really necessary. It is preferable to only remove tonsils if the tonsils cause so many complaints that there seems to be no other solution than to remove them. Recurring inflammation of the throat, accompanied by other complaints and/or very swollen tonsils, is usually the cause. Even if medication has to be prescribed too often, it may be decided to remove the tonsils. However, the usefulness and consequences of tonsil removal are still somewhat controversial. Removing tonsils may have a negative impact on the immune system. Not every ENT doctor will therefore be happy to remove the tonsils (too) quickly. It is useful to read in advance about the pros and cons of this procedure, and also be well informed.

Removing tonsils, how does that work?

In the past, things were different than they are today. In the youth of our parents and grandparents (before 1950), a child was simply told by his mother or father that this afternoon we are going to cut almonds. When the child asked what that was, the answer was: the doctor looks down your throat with a mirror and then you get an ice cream. The child was then enthusiastically taken to the hospital, where, to his horror, he was placed in a chair and his arms and legs were secured with straps. The child was given a clamp in his mouth and then the tonsils were cut out without anesthesia. A painful and traumatic experience richer, the child indeed received an ice cream afterwards. That seems like little consolation to me.


Fortunately, things are different these days. Such a procedure is now performed under anesthesia, but it is still a painful procedure. There is considerable pain after the operation. Swallowing is painful and the child will have to drink small sips of water regularly after the procedure to rinse the throat. Crying hurts too. After the operation, the child will still be given ice cream to ease the pain. Eating and talking are also sensitive. The voice will sound a little different due to the procedure. All these complaints will diminish after a few days. The pain is controlled with paracetamol, preferably paracetamol suppositories, and not (!) with agents such as aspirin that contain acetylsalicylic acid, because they thin the blood and there is always a risk of bleeding during and after the procedure.

Eating after the tonsils have been removed

Eating after tonsil removal will only become easier after a few days. Soft and cold (or lukewarm) foods are recommended and popsicles are also recommended, but carbonated soft drinks, bananas and certain other fruits are not recommended. You will receive advice about this from the hospital. The throat will turn gray-white where the tonsils used to be after the procedure. This is normal and a stage of the healing process.

Are there any risks to removing tonsils?

Every operation carries certain risks. Removing tonsils is a routine operation, but bleeding can still occur. Infections, fever and (after) bleeding are always a reason to contact a doctor immediately after the operation.

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