A tonsillectomy is a 2,000 year-old surgical procedure in which the tonsils are removed from either side of the throat. The procedure is performed in response to cases of repeated occurrence of acute tonsillitis or adenoiditis, obstructive sleep apnea, nasal airway obstruction, snoring, or peritonsillar abscess. Sometimes the adenoids are removed at the same time, a procedure called adenoidectomy. Although tonsillectomy is being performed less frequently than in the 1950s, it remains one of the most common surgical procedures in children in the United States.
Adenoidectomy is the surgical removal of the adenoids. They may be removed for several reasons, including impaired breathing through the nose and chronic infections or earaches. The surgery is common. It is most often done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Post-operative pain is generally minimal and prevented with an abundance of icy or cold foods, though dairy foods such as ice cream should be avoided, as they coat the back of the throat, encouraging the body to produce phlegm, which can interfere with healing. Spicy foods, such as jalepenos or curries, should also be avoided. The procedure can sometimes be combined with a tonsillectomy if needed. Recovery time can range from several hours to two or three days (though as age increases so does recovery time).