All about tonsillectomy

Written by: Mr Antonio Belloso
Published: | Updated: 13/06/2024
Edited by: Karolyn Judge

Tonsillitis is a common condition characterised by inflammation of the tonsils, which are two oval-shaped pads of tissue located at the back of the throat. While many cases of tonsillitis can be managed with conservative treatments such as rest, fluids, and pain relief medication, some individuals may require surgical intervention to address recurrent or severe symptoms.


Leading consultant ENT surgeon Mr Antonio Belloso explores the role of surgery in treating tonsillitis and address common questions patients may have about the procedure, in this informative article.

Woman who needs a tonsillectomy


What is tonsillitis, and when is surgery recommended?

Tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the tonsils, usually caused by viral or bacterial infections. Common symptoms include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, swollen glands, and sometimes white or yellow spots on the tonsils.


While most cases of tonsillitis resolve on their own with rest and supportive care, recurrent or severe episodes may necessitate surgical removal of the tonsils, a procedure known as tonsillectomy.


Surgery may be recommended in cases of recurrent tonsillitis (multiple episodes per year), severe or persistent symptoms that significantly impact daily life, or complications such as abscess formation or difficulty breathing/swallowing.



How is tonsillectomy performed, and what are the different techniques?

Tonsillectomy is typically performed under general anaesthesia and involves the complete removal of the tonsils. There are several techniques for performing tonsillectomy, including:

  • traditional cold knife dissection;
  • electrocautery;
  • controlled ablation, and;
  • harmonic scalpel.


Each technique has its advantages and considerations, and the choice of method may depend on factors such as the patient's age, medical history, surgeon preference, and availability of equipment. The goal of the procedure is to safely and effectively remove the tonsils while minimising postoperative pain and complications.



What are the benefits of tonsillectomy?

Tonsillectomy can offer several benefits for patients suffering from chronic or severe tonsillitis, including:

  • Reduction in the frequency and severity of sore throats and tonsillitis episodes.
  • Alleviation of symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, fever, and swollen glands.
  • Improvement in overall quality of life and ability to participate in daily activities.
  • Prevention of complications associated with recurrent tonsillitis, such as abscess formation or obstructive sleep apnoea.



What is the recovery process like after tonsillectomy?

The recovery period following tonsillectomy can vary depending on individual factors such as age, overall health, and the surgical technique used. In general, patients can expect some degree of throat pain, swelling, and discomfort in the days following surgery. Pain relief medication, ice packs, and a soft diet may be recommended to help manage symptoms.


Most patients can return to normal activities within one to two weeks, although strenuous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided during the initial recovery period. It’s essential to follow postoperative instructions provided by your surgeon to optimise healing and minimise the risk of complications.




If you’re considering a tonsillectomy and want expert advice about the procedure, arrange a consultation with Mr Belloso via his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Antonio Belloso
Otolaryngology / ENT

Mr Antonio Belloso is a consultant ENT surgeon in Blackburn. He specialises in tonsillitis, blocked nose and septoplasty, as well as endoscopic sinus surgery, neck lumps and head and neck cancer. He privately practises at The Beardwood Hospital and his NHS base is the East Lancashire NHS Trust (ELHT). 

As a highly-qualified and dedicated practitioner with LMS, DLO, FRCS (ENT) and FRCS (ORL_HNS) certificates, Mr Belloso is committed to delivering personalised care tailored to each patient's unique needs. He holds a substantive position at the East Lancashire NHS Trust (ELHT), where he serves as the regional Lancashire lead for Head & Neck oncology and the Clinical Lead for H&N surgery. Here, he has introduced robotic surgery (TORS) for ENT cancer, and set up a multidisciplinary one-stop neck lump clinic, a nurse-led thyroid clinic and a multidisciplinary voice clinic, among other important achievements. Additionally, he plays a pivotal role in improving cancer care across the region as part of the East Lancashire Cancer Board.

Outside his clinical responsibilities, Mr Belloso is deeply involved in education and training, serving as an honorary senior lecturer for Edge Hill University. He is also actively engaged in supporting the training of future ENT specialists, ensuring the highest standards of care for patients.

Furthermore, Mr Belloso is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) and a proud member of esteemed professional organisations such as the British Medical Association (BMA), ENT UK, and the British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons (BEATS). His dedication to excellence and contributions to the field have been recognised through various awards, including the START award for Best Medical team in ELHT and the START award for Most Innovative Consultant.

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