Tonsillectomy (adult)

What are the tonsils?

The tonsils are part of a group of lymphoid tissues (like the glands in your neck) that help to fight off infection from germs that are breathed in or swallowed.

Tonsillitis happens if the tonsils become infected (see figure 1).

Tonsillectomy adult 

For children, a tonsillectomy is recommended when the child has had at least four attacks each year for two years in a row. For adults, fewer attacks are needed before a tonsillectomy is recommended, as attacks tend to be more severe and there is less likelihood of the attacks stopping on their own.

What are the benefits of a tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy will prevent you from getting tonsillitis and the resulting pain, fever and difficulty swallowing.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Surgery is the only dependable way to stop tonsillitis that keeps on coming back. In children, a long course of antibiotics may break a cycle of frequent infections. In adults, this treatment is less likely to be effective, especially following glandular fever.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about half an hour. Your surgeon will perform the tonsillectomy through your mouth. They will cut or peel the tonsil away from the layer of muscle underneath it, or use heat to remove the tonsil and cauterise the area. They will then stop any extra bleeding.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical wound

Specific complications of this operation:

  • Small pieces of the tonsil may be left behind
  • Lingual tonsillitis

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the following day. Sometimes a tonsillectomy is done as a day case (no overnight stay in hospital).

The pain will last for up to two weeks. It will tend to be worse first thing in the morning.

You will need to stay off work or school and away from groups of people for two weeks after the operation. This is to help prevent throat infections while your throat is still healing.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

If left untreated, tonsillitis can cause complications. Surgery is the only dependable way to stop tonsillitis that keeps on coming back.

Paying for your operation

Tonsillectomy costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

Acknowledgements 

Author: Miss Ruth Capper MD FRCS (ORL-HNS)

Copyright © 2008 EIDO Healthcare Limited The operation and treatment information on this website is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare. The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Pricing

Tonsillectomy adult

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £2,454 Included £2,454
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £2,654
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £2,454
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £2,654

Terms & Conditions

Treatment prices displayed are a guide for initial consultation, and a guide price for our fixed price packages which include pre-assessment, procedure and aftercare. Your Consultant will be able to discuss costs in greater detail at your consultation, after which a quote of your fixed price package will be provided [which is subject to results of any pre-assessment tests]. Prices can be subject to change.

For more information please refer to our terms and conditions (large print version).

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