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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