Today, many parents wonder if it is wise for children to have the tonsils taken out. Tonsillectomy may be recommended if your child has any of the following:
Obstructed breathing during sleep
Throat infections or throat abscesses that keep returning
In most cases, inflammation of the tonsils can be successfully treated with antibiotics. There are always risks associated with surgery.
You and your child’s doctor may consider a tonsillectomy if:
Your child has frequent infections (7 or more times in 1 year, or 5 or more times over 2 years)
Your child misses a lot of school
Your child snores, has trouble breathing, and has sleep apnea
Your child has an abscess or growth on their tonsils
Sterni LM, Tunkel DE. Obstructive sleep apnea in children. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al., eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2005:chap 182.
Wetmore RF. Tonsils and adenoids. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 380.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.