(Latin: small rounded mass of tissue, especially of lymphoid tissue; tonsil)
A tonsillectomy may be performed in cases of recurrent tonsillitis, or to treat sleep apnea, and some speech disorders.
The tonsils help protect against infections; however, children with large tonsils may have frequent sore throats and ear infections, or have nightly breathing problems. In these cases, surgery to remove the tonsils may be helpful or necessary.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. This means your child will be unconscious and pain-free. The surgeon holds the mouth open to expose the tonsils. The tonsils are then cut or burned away. Steps are taken to control bleeding, and the cut heals naturally without stitches.
A tonsillectomy should be considered when tonsillitis attacks are so frequent or severe that they affect a child's general health or interfere with school, hearing, or breathing; however, some physicians believe tonsillectomies are done more often than necessary, so parents should get a second opinion when there is any doubt.