Adult Tonsil Surgery

Tonsils are small glands in the throat, with one on each side. The role of your tonsils is to fight germs, specifically when you are a child. After the age of about three years, the tonsils become less important in fighting germs and usually shrink. Tonsils are not essential to your body’s ability to fight germs. 

Some adults continue to struggle with tonsil infections and, therefore, may search for treatment plans. One form of treatment may include removing them (tonsillectomy), but we can only take them out if they are doing more harm than good.

What is tonsillitis? 

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become inflamed. They may become red and swollen and even have white spots or patches on them. Sometimes, tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria, which means antibiotics can help to relieve symptoms and speed up the recovery process. 

However, tonsilitis can also be caused by a viral infection, which means antibiotics will not be effective. 

Tonsilitis can be uncomfortable, and you may experience a range of symptoms, such as a sore throat, tenderness and difficulty swallowing. 

When should I seek advice about my tonsils? 

If you have frequent tonsil infections, you might consider a tonsillectomy. However, you must have several cases of tonsillitis within a certain time period; otherwise, the risks of the surgery may outweigh the benefits. 

You should make an appointment to speak to a medical professional who can advise you on the next steps. 

What happens during adult tonsil surgery? 

Coblation Tonsillectomy

This alternative procedure to traditional tonsillectomy uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of your tonsils. This procedure is minimally invasive, causing less discomfort and reducing recovery time.

A minimally-invasive alternative way to remove the tonsils and adenoids.

Unlike a traditional surgical knife or “electrocautery” (heat) procedure, tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy using COBLATION™ Plasma Technology can be used to reduce the size of your tonsils and remove your adenoids with little harm to surrounding healthy tissue.

What is CoblationTM technology?

COBLATION™ Technology utilises radiofrequency energy to remove tissue. Because the COBLATION™ process is not a heat-driven process, surrounding healthy tissue is preserved.

How is tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy using COBLATION™ Technology performed?

This surgery is almost always done under general anaesthesia and it only lasts about 30 minutes. The surgeon uses a special hand piece which utilises radiofrequency energy to reduce the tonsil tissue and remove the adenoids in a near bloodless fashion. Most patients can go home the same day.

Going home and recovery

When you leave the hospital, you may get a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics to help fight infections.

You should:

  • rest at home for a few days to a week
  • avoid vigorous physical activities for a week or two.

You may:

  • have a sore throat and a hard time swallowing for a few days
  • find softer foods easier to eat and swallow but most food is OK.
Risk and complications

Every surgical procedure carries a degree of risk. Your consultant will discuss all the possible risks with you during your consultation.

As with all tonsillectomy procedures, in addition to general anaesthesia risks, 2-3% of tonsillectomy patients can experience post-op bleeding (up to 5-10 days after surgery). Fever can be present, and dehydration and weight loss can occur, especially among children who won’t eat or drink due to pain.