Tonsils are small glands in the throat, one on each side. They are thought to help young children’s bodies fight against germs.
A tonsillectomy (an operation to remove the tonsils) is only recommended if they are doing more harm than good. The main reason for sugery is a history of frequent tonsillitis requiring repeated courses of antibiotics and time off school or work.
Mr Frosh and his team have published a paper in the prestigious Journal of Laryngology and Otology showing how tonsillectomy significantly improved the lives of patients operated on under their care who had previously been chronic sufferers with tonsillitis. [A review of 100 patients revealed that, following tonsillectomy: their days off work – or school – due to sore throat reduced from an average of 27.6 to 1.3 days; their visits to their general practitioner due to sore throat reduced from an average of 7.9 to 0.4 visits; and more than 90% reported improved feelings of well-being, general health and energy].
Another reason for removing the tonsils is if they are large and block the airway, which can lead to significant snoring at night with brief pauses in the breathing pattern. A quinsy, which is an abscess that develops alongside the tonsil, can also be an indication for surgery.
More information is available in the patient information leaflet linked to on this page.