What are the benefits of having your tonsils removed?
Find out 5 benefits of a tonsillectomy, as well as expert advice from Consultant ENT Surgeon Mr Andrew Camilleri
If you or your child is experiencing recurring tonsillitis, you may be thinking about having your tonsils removed.
Although tonsillitis is a common illness and usually goes away in a few days, ongoing bouts of it can not only be painful, but also disruptive to your day-to-day life. If you find you have had tonsillitis up to three times in one year, you might need to have your tonsils removed to prevent further infection.
What is a tonsillectomy?
Tonsillectomy is an operation to remove your tonsils. Your tonsils can also be removed for snoring, sleep apnoea and nasal obstruction as well as to biopsy asymmetric ones. Finally, the tonsils are removed in some cases of bad breath where there are deep pits with decaying food in the tonsils.
What can you expect from surgery?
A tonsillectomy is performed under general anaesthetic. The operation itself is pretty short, taking around one hour.
Most people can return home the day after their operation, but it can take up to two weeks for the pain to diminish completely.
During this time, it’s recommended that you remain off work or school to help prevent you from catching an infection while your throat is healing.
Recurrent courses of antibiotics are the only alternative to tonsillectomy. People usually try this before their referral for the procedure. However, once they have had six attacks a year it becomes apparent that surgery may provide a more lasting benefit.
Here are 5 benefits of having a tonsillectomy
1. Improved quality of life
Tonsillitis can be painful as well as frustrating. However, a successful tonsillectomy can improve your overall quality of life.
One study found that patients experienced improvements to their quality of life 14 months after surgery and at seven years. There was also a reduction in the number of sore throat episodes.
By having your tonsils removed, you should no longer experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain and a sore throat related to tonsillitis.
2. Fewer infections
As your tonsils will be removed and your general health improved, those who experience tonsillitis caused by bacteria should have fewer infections.
Of course, you will still be at risk of colds and viruses, but these are less likely to develop into persistent infections.
Surgery may be recommended if you’ve had tonsillitis at least:
- Seven times in one year
- Five infections per year for two consecutive years
- Three infections per year for three consecutive years
3. Less use of medication
If you have fewer tonsillitis infections, you may find that you’ll be prescribed less medication, such as antibiotics. Although antibiotics have many benefits, they kill off your good bacteria as well as the bad. Taking too many course of antibiotics can weaken your immune system, making you at a higher risk of developing an infection.
Another benefit of this is by taking fewer antibiotics you can help to reduce your bacterial resistance to infection-fighting drugs.
4. Improved sleep
When your tonsils become infected, they can swell or become enlarged. This can be disruptive to your sleep.
A lack of sleep can make you feel tired during the day and can have a negative impact on your mood too. Studies by the Mental Health Foundation show that sleep and poor mental health are strongly related, so it's important to have a consistent night time routine and get as much sleep as you can
A tonsillectomy can also help to resolve other sleep-related issues too, such as sleep apnoea. This is where your tonsils get so large that they block the upper airway, which causes snoring and disrupts breathing.
5. Less time off work or school
Tonsillitis can be pretty uncomfortable, so it’s no wonder that it often results in absences from school or work. This can be inconvenient and difficult to manage if it becomes too regular.
Following a successful tonsillectomy, you may find that you’ll have less time off from school or work as you’ll no longer be getting as many infections.
The Consultant's View
Q: Why should you have a tonsillectomy?
Mr Andrew Camilleri says...
Tonsillectomy was a very common procedure to treat children and adults with recurrent sore throats.
Although tonsillitis is the main reason for tonsillectomy, the recognition of sleep apnoea syndrome has made this the commonest indication in pre-school children.
The tonsils are usually removed between attacks of sore throat unless the airway is threatened. An occasional reason for tonsillectomy is deep crypts in the tonsil which collect food debris (white spots) that can cause bad breath.
Patients with asthma or psoriasis attacks can get significant relief from those diseases after tonsillectomy.
The effect of tonsillectomy on long term health is debated. There is a definite reduction in attacks of sore throat.
With increasing antibiotic resistance, less antibiotic treatment is advised for tonsillitis so it is likely that the rate of tonsillectomy will rise again.
Get a tonsillectomy with Circle Health Group
Book an appointment with a specialist to have your tonsils removed today.