The tonsils are lumps of tissue that lie at the back of the throat. They are involved in fighting infection but they aren’t essential to health.

People who suffer from frequent bouts of infected or inflamed tonsils (tonsillitis), or have breathing problems caused by swollen tonsils, sometimes have them taken out.

Tonsillitis is a common condition among children and young people however older people are susceptible to it as well. It can often get better without treatment and without any complications however in some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to assist in recovery.

Symptoms of tonsillitis are:

  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Red, swollen tonsils with white spots on them
  • Headache
  • Loss or change in voice
  • swollen glands under the jaw

If antibiotics are ineffective against the tonsillitis or a patient suffers several, severe cases in a short length of time, then surgery may be recommended.

Surgery to remove the tonsils is known as a tonsillectomy. This procedure lasts about half an hour and is performed under general anaesthetic, so the patient is asleep during the operation. In removing the tonsils, future episodes of tonsillitis are prevented.