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Tonsillectomy procedure in adults – why it might not be the most recommended treatment for Tonsils?

Tonsillectomy is an extremely common procedure used for treating the problem of tonsils, especially amongst children. However, many times, the procedure is also used to treat the problem of recurrent sore throat amongst adults as well.


The procedure comprises of removal of tonsils, which is a cluster of tissues in the throat that form a part of the lymphatic system. When they become infected and swollen, they can interfere with the normal breathing of an individual and lead to problems like sore throat. Their surgical removal is considered to be one of the most effective ways for treating the repeated cases of strep throat and even sleep apnea amongst adults.

What makes Tonsillectomy a bad choice for adults?

  • Recent studies have shown that the rate of tonsillectomy complications amongst adults is significantly higher than that amongst the children. Even though most of these complications are not life threatening, they will require the patients to spend a considerable time away from work and their normal everyday routine. Discussed below are the five most important reasons that justify the decisions of adults to avoid tonsillectomy.
    • It affects the growth of specific immunity cells:
      • According to a recent study, the human tonsils are the breeding ground for a T lymphocytes or T Cells. These are critical type of immune cells and were found to exist in different stages of development within the tonsils. The cells develop in the area near the fibrous scaffold of the tonsil.
      • This specific part of the tonsils is extremely sensitive and is considered significantly critical for primary immunity. Therefore removing the tonsils can affect the immunity of the adults and lave them vulnerable to risk of various infections and other ailments.
    • The procedure becomes increasingly difficult with age:
      • Another reason for avoiding tonsillectomy in adults is that the doctors generally find it extremely hard to remove the tissue clusters in patients of advanced ages. This is because repeated occurrence of sore throat amongst the adults leads to the build up of scar tissue on and around the tonsils. This means that the more aged a patient is at the time of the surgery, the greater the amount of scar tissue will be that the surgeon will have to deal with while removing the tonsil. 
    • Recovery period is extremely difficult in adults:
      • For most adults, the recovery period after tonsillectomy can be extremely difficult. This is because they often find it extremely difficult to keep themselves distracted and manage their pain in a better manner. Unlike the children undergoing this procedure, most adults are impatient to return to their normal lifestyle and this often results in complications which might further elongate their recovery period. In fact, most adults are known to develop complication within the first to fourth week after the surgery.
    • Greater variety of post-operative complications:
      • As mentioned before the risk of post-operative complications amongst adult patients is significantly higher. In addition, the type of complications that such patients might suffer from are also much varied. Most patients experience the problems of bleeding, trauma, infection, severe pain and even anaesthesia complications after the tonsillectomy procedure. Even though these problems can be managed by seeking the doctor’s advice and following their instructions quite strictly, they do cause a lot of discomfort and inconvenience to the patients.
    • Risk of injury to the surrounding organs:
      • Many adults who have undergone the tonsillectomy procedure have suffered from involuntary damage to the surrounding organs, which has deeply affected their everyday life. Incidents of patients experiencing changes in their voice, taste or smelling and hearing powers are not uncommon. Sadly, these problems might not be rectified through medication and further surgery might complicate the matters even more, especially if the surgeons are not sure about the actual cause.
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