Throat & Voice

Reasons Why You May Need to Remove Your Tonsils & How It Is Done

January 9, 2023
Reasons Why You May Need to Remove Your Tonsils How It Is Done

Your tonsils are a set of glands that sit at the back of your throat. Their main purpose is to prevent germs from entering the mouth or nose and serve an important immune function. However in some cases, it can actually be beneficial to surgically remove the tonsils in a procedure known as tonsillectomy.

Learn More: 5 Reasons To Bring Your Child To An ENT Specialist

Reasons For Removing Tonsils

Reasons For Removing Tonsils-Chronic Snoring/ Sleep Apnea

1. Chronic Snoring/ Sleep Apnea

Your tonsils may get infected and swell up. For most people, the swelling reduces once the infection has subsided, although for a proportion of patients the tonsils remain swollen. The enlarged tonsils can then block portions of your airway and make it difficult to breathe, especially at night. This can lead to sleep apnea in Singapore where your blocked airway results in constant waking and lowered quality of sleep.

Over time, sleep apnea can have serious ill effects on your body. To remedy this, your ENT may recommend a tonsil removal.

2. Recurrent Tonsillitis

Your tonsils are at the front line of your body’s defence system against bacteria and viruses that enter through your mouth. This also makes the tonsils vulnerable to infection, a condition known as tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis can be treated with minimal intervention via a course of antibiotics. However if your doctor finds that you have recurrent tonsillitis, then it may be more beneficial to remove your tonsils altogether. Tonsillitis can cause symptoms like breathing issues, sleep apnea, halitosis, pain, headaches, and ulcers. Removing tonsils can eliminate many of these issues.

3. Tonsil Cancer

Tonsillectomy might also be recommended for patients who have cancerous tissue or suspected malignancy in their tonsils. Tonsil cancer is the most common form of oropharyngeal cancer and is more common among those over 50 and males.

Tonsil Cancer-tonsillitis in Singapore

How Is Tonsillectomy Done

There are a few different ways of performing a tonsillectomy and your ENT surgeon will choose the method most appropriate for your condition.

1. Intracapsular Tonsillectomy

Intracapsular tonsillectomy involves the removal of most of the tonsil tissue but leaves a small layer to protect the throat muscle. Removing the entire tonsil tissue is known as an extracapsular tonsillectomy and it exposes the muscle bed and blood vessels that lie within the tonsil muscles.

Intracapsular tonsillectomy has less risk of bleeding during the procedure and a faster recovery timeline. This type of surgery is often recommended for children who have enlarged tonsils or recurrent tonsillitis in Singapore.

2. Ultrasonic Scalpel

The Ultrasonic Scalpel tonsillectomy is a procedure that uses a handheld device with ultrasonic energy at the blade tip. The vibrations produced by the device allow the blade to both cut tissue and coagulate blood simultaneously, resulting in minimal bleeding. It allows for very accurate cutting and is a highly skilled method of removing tonsils.

3. Cauterisation

Cauterisation is a medical practice of applying heat to tissue during a surgical procedure to reduce infection and bleeding. During the procedure, your tonsils will be simultaneously removed and burnt to seal off the blood vessels. This is a common, effective, and safe method of tonsil removal in Singapore.

4. Coblation

Coblation refers to “controlled ablation” which involves using low-temperature radiofrequency energy to remove the soft tissues that make up the tonsils. It can help reduce pain and bleeding in the postoperative period and improve recovery times.

If you have issues like sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils, recurrent tonsillitis, or malignant tissue in your tonsils, you should speak with your ENT doctor about tonsil removal methods and which one would work for you.

A fellowship-trained consultant ENT Specialist in Singapore with a clinic in Novena, Dr Gan has experience in a wide range of ENT services. Contact us today to find out more about our clinic and set up an appointment with us.

    When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

    • Any ear, nose or throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned about
    • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

    Dr Gan Eng Cern

    Dr Gan Eng Cern is a distinguished ENT doctor with fellowship training. In addition to his clinical practice as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Singapore, Dr. Gan has contributed to the academic field as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is recognised for his extensive research work, with numerous contributions to reputable international ENT journals. Dr Gan is also highly sought after as a speaker and has shared his surgical knowledge as a surgical dissection teacher at various prominent ENT conferences and courses.


    • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist (Expat Living Singapore)
    • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
    • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
    • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
    • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical paper)
    • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health, Singapore)
    • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award


    • MBBS – Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
    • MRCS (Edin) – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • MMed (ORL) – Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
    • FAMS – Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

    Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern


    Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

    Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.


    Friendly & Helpful Clinic Staff

    Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.


    Advanced ENT Equipment & Fully Equipped Facility

    Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.


    Financial Options

    There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

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