The tonsils are aggregates of lymphoid tissue at the back of the throat on each side. They can be quite large but normally shrink as people age.

Tonsil removal (tonsillectomy) is performed under general anaesthetic in patients with recurrent acute tonsillitis, recurring peritonsillar abscess, malignancy or for large tonsils causing airway obstruction or swallowing difficulty. The operation usually takes about 30 minutes. Patients will be able to go home 4 hours after surgery.

  • Inform your surgeon if there is:
  • a personal or family history of bleeding problems
  • if you are on medications to thin the blood (eg aspirin or warfarin)
  • a problem with loose/fragile teeth
  • any neck or spine problem

After Surgery

  • Expect to take 10-14 days off work/school
  • Avoid strenuous activity
  • White slough develops over the surgical site in a few days. Separation at 7 - 10 days after surgery can occasionally result in a small amount of bleeding


  • Take adequate pain relief as prescribed
  • Paracetamol, Voltaren/Brufen
  • Pain may increase 5-6 days after the operation before it starts to settle again over the following week
  • Pain may be felt in the ears
  • You will also be prescribed antibiotics for a week
  • Drinking plenty of fluids is important to prevent dehydration
  • Patients may eat what they like
  • Chewing gum may help reduce pain quicker
  • Avoid aspirin and aspirin containing medications for two weeks after the operation


Bleeding can occur in some patients. Notify your surgeon, your family doctor or attend the Emergency Department if you start to spit out blood.

There may be a mild, temporary change of the voice.

Teeth can get damaged.

Taste disturbance and velopharyngeal insufficiency (reflux of food and fluid into the nose) are rare and usually improve over 2-3 months.


Your surgeon will arrange one follow up visit after surgery.