Are Kids With No Tonsils More Susceptible to Infections?

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Our doctor has suggested that my son get a tonsillectomy. Will removing his tonsils make him more susceptible to other throat infections?
- Kate

The tonsils are two glands located on either side of the back part of the throat. Tonsils are also known as lymphoid tissue. Their main function is to help stop bacteria from getting farther down the throat. However, a tonsillectomy doesn't put kids at risk for more infections. In fact, some kids get fewer throat infections after tonsillectomies. When the tonsils are removed, other tissues in the body take over their role to help prevent infection.

Thanks to successful antibiotic treatments and a more conservative approach, tonsillectomies are less common than they used to be. However, they may still be recommended in cases of frequent bacterial infections or airway obstruction (such as obstructive sleep apnea), which may occur due to enlarged tonsils.

Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: April 2012

Related Resources

OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

Related Articles

Can Tonsils Grow Back? Find out what the experts have to say.
Tonsils and Tonsillectomies Not everyone knows what tonsils do or why they may need to be removed. Knowing the facts can help alleviate the fears of both parents and kids facing a tonsillectomy.
Enlarged Adenoids Often, tonsils and adenoids are surgically removed at the same time. Though some kids need surgery, enlarged adenoids are normal in others.
Tonsillitis Tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils caused by an infection, causes sore throat, fever, swollen glands in the neck, and trouble swallowing.
Strep Throat Strep throat is a common cause of sore throat in kids and teens. It usually requires treatment with antibiotics, but improves in a few days.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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