Many children have sore throats often with a cough or a cold but they rarely need anything more than regular pain relief and fluids. When the sore throats are more severe the tonsils may be infected and so the condition may be termed tonsillitis. If the infections are very severe they may interfere with schooling and need treatment with antibiotics. Some children have recurring episodes of tonsillitis and it may then be advisable to remove the tonsils and sometimes the adenoids.

The tonsils and adenoid are small glands in the throat, the tonsils on each side and the adenoid behind the palate in the middle. They are there to fight germs when your child is young but after the age of about two years they become less important in fighting germs and usually shrink. The body can still fight infections without them.

When to take them out?

Tonsillectomy and maybe adenoidectomy is recommended if the tonsils are causing health problems. Obstructive sleep apnoea (see Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) is one reason and another is recurrent tonsillitis. If the attacks are severe and have occurred frequently for over a year surgery may be recommended. Rarely an abscess can from around the tonsil (a quinsy) from a severe infection and this may require tonsillectomy.

Click to download information booklet Tonsillectomy (with or without adenoidectomy)


The North Hampshire ENT Partnership is a team of consultants specialising in a wide spectrum of diseases and disorders that affect the Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) including snoring and sleep disorders, cosmetic and skin surgery.


Our surgeons provide specialist care by drawing from the 50 plus years of combined NHS experience and the many areas of individual specialist expertise available within the partnership.