ask: Should adults get their tonsils removed?

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I've heard more than once that adults who have frequent illnesses (like colds and infections) may want to think about getting their tonsils removed. Is there any validity to this?

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EmpowHER Guest

Hi everyone
I have read trough the comments im 22 and having trouble with my tonsils for a few years now every winter they get swollen and is very uncomfortable i would just like to know if it is worth it to remove them or just to stick it out?

March 17, 2015 - 6:32am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I just had my tonsils removed on may 11 2015, it is the most excruciatingly painful thing ever. I also did rhinoplasty which didn't help. here's my answer to your question, don't do it. It's not worth the pain also remember were adults so our healing process is not as fast as kids. It's now may 14 and I haven't been able to eat or drink. I lost 10 lbs. Unless they hurt then take em out

May 14, 2015 - 2:12pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your advice, Anon

While everyone is different and responds differently, I have also heard that it is excruciating for an adult, with minimal benefits. 

However, it has only been a few days for you (it probably feels like months - pain does that to you) so hopefully you will feel a lot better soon. For every horror story, many adults do just fine. 

Please keep us posted on how you are doing, ok? 



May 14, 2015 - 2:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had mine removed at 30 and it was the most miserable experience of my life. I would highly advice against having them removed at such an old age unless they are truly detrimental to her health. At 65 I would personally take strep 7 days a week (hell, two weeks a year) over the recovery that results from a tonsillectomy. The pain becomes exponentially greater over the years and just at 30 I can assure you there was no ice cream or Popsicles in sight for a good 2 weeks.

September 2, 2014 - 8:52pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks for telling us your story - wow - it sounds like it was excruciating. 

I'm so sorry you had to go through all that and thank you for letting us and our readers know your experience. The bad, as well as the good, is really important to know. Are you working with your doctors to stop the pain now?



September 4, 2014 - 5:16am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

I think he was talking about 35 years ago.

May 17, 2015 - 7:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have a question. Is it recommendable for and adult 65+ to have their tonsils removed. My sister' doctor want to remove her tonsils but i don't want because she is very old to have it removed.

August 15, 2014 - 3:40pm
EmpowHER Guest

interesting thanks

December 30, 2011 - 1:40pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Great question, jetpackjenny -

Many people assume that adults should not have their tonsils removed because it leads to further illness or bacterial build-up.

It is also quite a painful procedure, especially for adults, and the pain lasts a couple of weeks. Eating can be very painful for a while and you may need several days, if not longer, away from school or work. Bleeding has also been reported in about 1% of cases.

However, there is good news! A report from the Harvard Gazette finds that there are more benefits than cons if an adult needs a tonsillectomy.

Here is the article -

"Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have found that adults who have tonsillectomies to treat their chronic, recurring tonsillitis take fewer sick days and less medication than those who opt to leave their tonsils in and repeatedly treat the condition with antibiotics.

The study, which was published in the November issue of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, followed 83 chronic tonsillitis sufferers over a three-year period. BWH researchers found that removing the tonsils was ultimately more effective than antibiotic treatments because those patients who had their tonsils extracted missed only 0.6 days of work a year on average after their tonsillectomy, versus 9.2 workdays before the surgery.

"The myth persists that if you're an adult, you shouldn't have your tonsils removed," said Assistant Professor of Otology and Laryngology Neil Bhattacharyya of BWH. "But for people who get tonsillitis several times a year, the surgery makes sense, medically, financially, and from a quality-of-life perspective."

Bhattacharyya's findings also included how long patients remained on antibiotics over the course of a year. Before tonsillectomy, patients spent an average of six and a half weeks a year taking antibiotics, whereas after tonsillectomy the same patients averaged less than a day per year on antibiotics.

Visits to doctors' offices also declined sharply for people whose tonsils had been removed. Before tonsillectomy, patients averaged six doctor's visits a year for tonsil and throat problems, compared with the 0.3 visits a year on average for those after tonsillectomy.

"When you factor in all of the sick time with the expense associated with the antibiotics and the doctor's visits, deciding to keep your tonsils can be the less attractive option for many chronic tonsillitis sufferers," said Bhattacharyya. "Even when you consider that it takes a week to recover from the surgery, patients who had them removed were less sick, less often, for several years after the procedure."

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils - lymphoid tissue located in the back of the throat - become infected, either by bacteria or a virus. Bacterial infection of the tonsils, which tends to be more severe, can be treated in many cases using antibiotics. Viral infections, however, cannot be treated with medication.

Most insurance companies determine whether a tonsillectomy is covered by considering how many times a year the patient experiences tonsillitis. The average, approximated cost of the surgery is $2,500. Bhattacharyya showed that even from an economic standpoint tonsillectomy is beneficial, with savings from fewer infections recouping the costs of the tonsillectomy within two years after the procedure.

"When evaluating whether or not to cover this kind of surgery, insurance companies should think long term, both in terms of the patient's quality of life and the costs associated with the reoccurrence of this condition," said Bhattacharyya. "As we have shown, for some adults, tonsillectomies make practical, and medical, sense."

Bhattacharyya cautioned that tonsillectomies are not the right course of treatment for everyone, and sufferers should consult with their doctors to determine the best course of action. "


I hope this helps!

August 20, 2008 - 1:08pm
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