Are Kids With No Tonsils More Susceptible to Infections?

Are Kids With No Tonsils More Susceptible to Infections?

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

The main function of tonsils 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.

Due to successful antibiotic treatments and a more conservative approach, tonsillectomies are less common than they used to be. But they're still sometimes done for cases of frequent and severe bacterial infections or airway obstruction (such as obstructive sleep apnea), which may happen due to enlarged tonsils.

Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015





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

© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com





Bookmark and Share

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
Enlarged Adenoids Often, tonsils and adenoids are surgically removed at the same time. So, what are adenoids exactly?
Having Your Tonsils Taken Out Sometimes tonsils need to be removed, but how is it done? Find out in this article for kids.
A to Z: Hypertrophy, Tonsillar (Enlarged Tonsils) Tonsillar hypertrophy, or enlarged tonsils, can happen due to an ongoing (chronic) condition or a temporary effect of an infection.
First Aid: Sore Throat Sore throats are usually caused by viruses. Here's what to do if your child has a sore throat.
Strep Throat Strep throat is a common infection that usually needs to be treated with antibiotics. Find out how to recognize the signs of strep throat and what to expect if you have it.
Tonsillitis Tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils caused by an infection, causes sore throat, fever, swollen glands in the neck, and trouble swallowing.
Tonsils and Tonsillectomies Everybody's heard of tonsils, but not everyone knows what tonsils do in the body or why they may need to be removed. Find out here.
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.
Tonsillitis You wake up and your throat is swollen and you have a fever. Could it be tonsillitis? Find out what tonsillitis is, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
Tonsillitis If your tonsils get infected, it can make your throat feel very sore. Find out more in this article for kids.
Enlarged Adenoids Often, tonsils and adenoids are surgically removed at the same time. Though some kids need surgery, enlarged adenoids are normal in others.
All About Adenoids Just what are adenoids? And why do kids sometimes have to get their adenoids removed? Get the answers here.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Brief pauses in breathing during sleep can be normal. But when breathing stops often or for longer periods, it can be a cause for concern.
Word! Tonsillitis Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils at the back of your throat.
Peritonsillar Abscess A peritonsillar abscess is an area of pus-filled tissue at the back of the mouth, next to one of the tonsils. Find out how it happens and what to do.
Peritonsillar Abscess Older kids and teens with tonsilitis sometimes develop this painful abscess, a pus-filled tissue at the back of the mouth.
The Scoop on Strep Throat Strep throat gives you a sore throat and makes it hard to swallow. Find out more in this article for kids.
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.
Can Tonsils Grow Back? Find out what the experts have to say.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter