Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure in which both palatine tonsils are removed from a recess in the side of the pharynx called the tonsillar fossa. The procedure is performed in response to repeated occurrence of acute tonsillitis, sleep surgery for obstructive sleep apnea, nasal airway obstruction, diphtheria carrier state, snoring, or peritonsillar abscess. For children, tonsillectomy is usually combined with an adenoidectomy, which is the removal of the adenoid (also known as the pharyngeal tonsil or nasopharyngeal tonsil). The combination of these two procedures is called an adenotonsillectomy or T&A. Adenoidectomy is uncommon in adults in whom the adenoid is much smaller than it is in children and rarely causes problems. Although tonsillectomy is nowadays performed much less frequently than in the 1950s, it remains a common surgical procedure in children in the United States and many other western countries. However, tonsillectomy is still a controversial surgery as its benefits seem to be only modest and temporary in most cases, whereas there are some indications that tonsillectomy may compromise the immune system in the long run, especially when performed at a young age.

Related Links:

Tonsillectomy – About – Mayo Clinic

Tonsillectomy in Children and Adults: Recovery & Complications

Tonsillectomy: Purpose, Procedure, and Recovery

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