A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils, lymph nodes located on either side of the back of the throat. The tonsils produce white blood cells to help the body fight infection.
The tonsils are the first line of defense against infection, but they themselves can get infected and enlarged. Enlarged tonsils can interfere with breathing and swallowing, block the Eustachian tubes and cause frequent ear infections.
The tonsils are removed through the mouth while the patient is under general anesthesia. A tonsillectomy is often performed at the same time as an adenoidectomy.