Do not remove the tonsils surgically

Do not remove the tonsils surgically

When should the tonsils be removed?

While the tonsils (tonsils) were often removed in the past with the slightest suspicion of recurring symptoms, medicine now knows that these play an essential role in the development of the immune system, especially in children. Operative removal should therefore be considered carefully.

With recurrent purulent inflammation of the tonsils, however, an intervention is urgently required, which should also be considered when removing the lymphatic organs. However, as the first defense station against invading bacteria via the mouth and throat, the tonsils are of particular importance for the immune defense. Experts such as Prof. Werner Hosemann from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neck, Nose and Ear Diseases of the University Medical Center Greifswald explain that the tonsils act like a kind of "filter" that contains all harmful substances that are "swallowed or inhaled through the mouth" , recognizes.

Removal of the tonsils causes impairments of the immune defense. Removing the tonsils therefore usually also impairs the immune defense, which is particularly critical in children whose immune system is not yet fully developed. A corresponding intervention would therefore only make sense if the adolescents suffer from frequently recurring or chronic tonsillitis (tonsillitis). This is not infrequently the case due to the direct food contact and the jagged surface of the tonsils, whereby the tonsillitis manifests itself primarily in symptoms such as a sore throat and fever. However, the complaints can usually be treated relatively well, although home remedies for sore throats can also show a clear effect. For example, in the case of recurrent sore throat due to tonsillitis in naturopathy, it is recommended to take a tea made from Bibernell root, which should be drunk three times a day. Only when the therapeutic measures are unsuccessful should surgical removal of the tonsils be considered. Most medical practitioners have now understood this and are therefore much more reluctant to remove the tonsils than was the case a few years ago.

Almonds as an early warning system against pathogens The tonsils are constantly in contact with bacteria, fungi and viruses, whereby the germs are not only controlled directly by the tonsils, but the lymphatic organs also act as a kind of early warning system that prepares the organism for the penetration of the pathogens . The almonds also memorize the germs and "thus contribute to the development of the immunological memory - and thus also to the building of the body's own defenses", emphasized the immunologist Werner Solbach from the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck. As soon as the immunological memory has completed its development - which, according to the expert, is around the age of six - the removal of the tonsils no longer has any major disadvantages for the immune system. With a mature immune system, "the guardian function of the tonsils is no longer so important," Winfried Goertzen from the Bavarian State Association of the professional association of ear, nose and throat doctors told the news agency "dpa".

Removal of the tonsils in the case of recurrent purulent inflammation According to Winfried Goertzen, removal of the tonsils is also recommended, "if the tonsils are so large that they hinder breathing". Because constant air shortages can cause a lack of oxygen, which in turn can lead to symptoms such as headache, fatigue, ringing in the ears and reduced performance. With frequent inflammation of the tonsils, the pathogens could migrate through the blood and cause secondary infections such as otitis media or potentially life-threatening heart valve insufficiency, the experts explained. Here it is also strongly advised to remove the tonsils. Otherwise, according to the doctors, the number of tonsillitis per year provides a good indication of the operation that may be necessary. The upper limit, from which removal of the tonsils is recommended, is four to six tonsillitis per year in children, and three or more serious infections per year in adults. (fp)

Image: Claudia Hautumm /

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Video: How an adenotonsillectomy is carried out (October 2020).