Tonsillectomy Methods

Laser Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

What You Need to Know about Laser Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery often evokes fear in many people, sometimes removing tonsils and adenoids is inevitable. Frequent tonsillitis, tonsil stones, snoring, or enlarged tonsils causing respiratory problems are common reasons to get them removed. It’s quite common to also remove the adenoids at the same time. Here are the four most common tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy methods used today.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Surgery Methods

Laser Tonsillectomy or Harmonic Scalpel

An advanced piece of equipment that uses ultrasonic energy at a high rate, the tonsils are cut and the tissues tied at the same time. This laser tonsillectomy instrument allows for more precision. One advantage is that the damage to surrounding tissue is minimal with laser tonsillectomy surgery.

Here’s an interesting Video from the television program, The Doctors.  It’s about a different approach to tonsillectomy surgery. (Laser Tonsillectomy:

Cold Knife Dissection

The first of these tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy methods involves removing the tonsils with a scalpel. Although it is the most common among them and most preferred by ear, nose, and throat specialists, more bleeding during the procedure occurs with this than other tonsillectomy and adenoidectoy methods. However, there is minimal post-operative bleeding and less patient discomfort after the surgery.

Electrocautery Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Surgery

The second of the tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy methods uses electrical energy to burn the tonsil tissue. While the reduction of bleeding is advantageous, the high heat temperatures can damage surrounding tissue, and may cause more discomfort after the surgery.

Radio frequency Ablation

During this tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy procedure, probes inserted in the tonsil transfer radio frequency energy to the tonsil tissue. Because this is a treatment and not a full removal, the patient does not undergo full anesthesia; instead, local anesthesia or light sedation is performed. The treatment causes deliberate tonsil scarring, which causes the tonsil to decrease in size. Advantages include a quick recovery and immediate return to activities.

Tonsillectomy methods vary greatly in tools and post-operative recovery. The decision on which method to use is based on what kind of surgery is being done–partial or whole tonsillectomy, as well as how much pain can be tolerated and the risk of post-operative bleeding. Recovery often lasts between one-and-a-half to three weeks in length. Your throat will be sore for about two weeks, and you will not want to swallow anything for a few days. It it is imperative that you drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. Cold foods and liquids can help reduce throat inflammation. With advisement from your doctor, you both can problem-solve which of these tonsillectomy methods will work for you.

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Laser tonsillectomy
Laser tonsillectomy


  1. At the ENT right now waiting to see the Doc. Should have come here years ago but have been too afraid. I am 41 years old and will hopefully hear all my options for a possible to tonsilectomy today. I have 2-3 episodes of tonsillitis and strep every year and they are always inflamed. I have been concerned about all the down time and pain. I want them out but hope I can stomach the procedure and post op if this happens. I have my list for the doc including options, pain management and contact with him if I need him after the procedure.
    A friend of ours works in the office so I hope that will mean better communication.
    My plan is for two weeks off work.
    Wish me luck for my consult!!!

  2. Hi. I had my tonsils out 7 days ago and the pain is just as bad, if not worse. I tried to reduce my Roxicet dosage because I have no more refills left. However, it is the only thing (plus ICE) that really works. It’s really hard being on the receiving end of getting nursing care and worrying about possible complications. It is 4:30 am and I’ve been up for an hour. Crazy schedule. Time knows no pain.

  3. I’m having my tonsils out in a week. I’m 46 and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I think this is a great site for support and wanted to share just in case someone else has this issue. Upon finding out about the RA, I did some online research and found that there is a newer study that shows a link between chronic childhood tonsilitis and later RA in adulthood. There was a man in England w/same issue that had a tonsilectomy and after 6 mos was tested and all symptoms of RA had disappeared. After reading I wanted the surgery–I began to notice that at night my tonsils would swell and as they swelled, my joints would swell and stiffen. The bigger my tonsils swelled—the more my joints swelled, the more pain I had and the stiffer I got. It is so weird. My Rheumatologist agrees that this will probably be the thing I need. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been in so much pain from the RA the past 7 years I could care less how much this surgery and healing process is going to hurt. However, I appreciate the tips on here. God Bless!

  4. My 3 year old grandson had his tonsils and adnoids out on Tuesday, March 12,2013. His recovery is normal, but his voice is now unexpectly high and nasel. I read the nasel quality is to be expected, and should disappear in about 2-3 weeks, but there is no mention of him sounding like a Munchin on helium! Has anybody else experienced this? Please give me feedback if so! Thanks!

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