Tonsillitis: Tonsil surgery in children
Most children only have tonsillitis every now and then. Although it is unpleasant, it usually gets better after a few days. But if tonsillitis keeps coming back over several years, tonsil surgery may be an option.
Acute tonsillitis causes symptoms such as a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever and tiredness. Tonsillitis that keeps coming back within short spaces of time can greatly affect everyday life.
Children and teenagers are much more susceptible to tonsillitis than adults are. Some children get tonsillitis 4 to 8 times a year, with each episode lasting one to two weeks. They keep having to miss school as a result – and their parents often have to stay at home to take care of them.
Reasons for thinking about having tonsil surgery include painkillers and antibiotics not being effective enough, or not wanting to use too much medication. Surgery might also be considered because of complications such as the collection of pus near a tonsil (known as quinsy or a peritonsillar abscess).
When considering surgery, it is worth weighing the pros and cons: On the one hand there is the hope that having tonsils out will reduce the number of infections, or even stop them altogether. On the other hand the surgery is associated with risks, and you can't be sure that it will actually help.