'For us, the benefits of tonsillectomy far outweighed the risks' 

Tessa Hughes, from Brixton in London, had a tonsillectomy when she was 15 years old.

"Tessa started having throat infections when she was about seven," says Tessa's mum. "Every winter it was the same. She would wake up with a throat like a razor blade and feeling like death. I would take her to the doctor, and she would get better for a few weeks, then the infection would come back and we’d be back where we started.

"When it first happened, I shone a torch down her throat. Her tonsils were all swollen and looked like two yellow golf balls. I suspected it was tonsillitis and the GP confirmed the diagnosis almost immediately.

"Over the next few years, the bouts of tonsillitis became more frequent and Tessa had to take more time off school. I talked with the GP about Tessa having her tonsils out, but as tonsillitis is supposed to get better with age, we decided to wait and see if it would go away naturally as she grew older.

"By the time she was 15 there was still no improvement, so our GP referred us to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist at King's College Hospital in London. He took one look and suggested she have her tonsils out as soon as possible. There was a long waiting list at King's, so we were referred to a small hospital near Farnborough for the operation. Although the hospital was private, the treatment was still done on the NHS.

"Tessa sailed through the operation. Her throat was a bit sore for the next week or so, but she hasn’t had a throat infection since, which is a great relief to all concerned.

"We are delighted with the results and I would thoroughly recommend any mum to go ahead with the operation if a specialist suggests it could help their child. All surgery has risks, but a tonsillectomy is a simple operation and, for us, the benefits far outweighed the risks."

Page last reviewed: 29/12/2015

Next review due: 31/08/2018