Do tonsillectomies lead to more infections?

Q: My child's doctor has recently suggested my child get a tonsillectomy. Will removing his tonsils make him more susceptible to other throat infections?

A: The tonsils' main function is to help stop bacteria from getting farther down the throat. However, a tonsillectomy doesn't mean your child will be 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 much less common than they used to be. However, they may still be recommended in cases of proven recurrent bacterial infections or airway obstruction (such as obstructive sleep apnea).