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When would I need a tonsillectomy to treat tonsillitis?

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Tonsils are an important part of the immune system throughout life, so it is best to avoid removing them. However, if tonsillitis is recurrent or persistent, or if enlarged tonsils cause upper airway obstruction or difficulty eating, surgical removal of the tonsils, called tonsillectomy, may be necessary. Most tonsillectomies involve using a conventional scalpel to remove the tonsils; however there are many alternatives to this traditional method. Increasingly doctors are using techniques such as lasers, radio waves, ultrasonic energy, or electrocautery to cut, burn, or evaporate away enlarged tonsils.

SOURCES:

Kliegman R.M., Behrman R.E., Jenson H.B., Stanton B.F., eds., 18th ed., Philadelphia, Saunders Elsevier, 2007. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Tonsils and Adenoids."

Nemours Foundation: "Tonsillitis."

University of Virginia Health System: "Tonsillitis."

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Rapid strep test for strep throat," "Throat culture."

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Fact Sheet: Tonsillectomy Procedures," "Fact Sheet: Fact Sheet: Tonsils and Adenoids PostOp."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on March 10, 2019

SOURCES:

Kliegman R.M., Behrman R.E., Jenson H.B., Stanton B.F., eds., 18th ed., Philadelphia, Saunders Elsevier, 2007. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Tonsils and Adenoids."

Nemours Foundation: "Tonsillitis."

University of Virginia Health System: "Tonsillitis."

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Rapid strep test for strep throat," "Throat culture."

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Fact Sheet: Tonsillectomy Procedures," "Fact Sheet: Fact Sheet: Tonsils and Adenoids PostOp."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on March 10, 2019

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