What is Tonsillitis?

The tonsils are thought to have an immunological function in the first 18 months of life but thereafter have no useful function and are surplus to requirement. Seen under the low-power microscope, the tonsil has deep clefts which reach to the inside of the tonsil and harbour numerous bacteria. Every now and again, these bacteria can become virulent and give rise to an episode of tonsillitis. The bacteria invade the surrounding tissues and give rise to sore throat and associated symptoms can include fever, general malaise and inspection of the tonsils reveals white spots with sometimes pus-like material emanating from the crypts of the tonsils. As a result of the acute episode, the body builds up a defence with an increase in white blood cells and together with treatment with antibiotics, the acute infection usually settles after seven to ten days.

Get in Touch

    In some patients, the bacteria remain quite active and give rise to persistent sore throat symptoms with acute exacerbations (chronic tonsillitis)

    The common organisms causing this infection are Streptococcus and Staphylococcus.

    Causes and Treatment

    Bacterium may then reside dormant in the depths of the tonsil until the next occasion. Treatment of these infections is with appropriate antibiotics. In an ideal world, a throat swab would be taken in the outpatient setting but a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics such as Penicillin V is started pending the throat swab result.

    There are now guidelines as to the surgical management of recurrent tonsillitis and usually if a patient has a history of four or more episodes in a 12-month period for two consecutive years, then this fulfils the criteria for tonsillectomy. However, this guideline is not set in stone and patients with very mild symptoms but frequent episodes can sometimes be observed whereas patients with few episodes but are more severe and result in much time loss from work or school may benefit from tonsillectomy.

    Patient Feedback

    • I would highly recommend Mr Patel He is a fantastic surgeon who levels your expectations and does everything in his power to ensure your operation is successful.

      M D
    • First time I needed to see a specialist in the UK and I have to say that Mr. Kalpesh Patel is super professional and efficient. Clear communication and helpful.

    • Very tidy and clean environment with an amazing team to support the clinic. Mr. Patel which I met for the first time was kind and a good listener. Received a good diagnose and treatment. I highly recommend Mr Patel.

      Pedro Moura
    • I highly recommend Mr Patel to anyone having nose related problems. He is very experienced and extremely supportive throughout the whole process.

      Gustavo Sosa
    • I highly recommend Mr Patel. He and his staff were helpful and kind, and I left his office more knowledgeable and feeling better. Mr Patel explained the issue in simple terms using diagrams, but the best part about seeing him was the treatment and prescription he provided, which has given me immense relief. Thank you ever so much.

      Jigna Giga
    • I highly recommend Kalpesh Patel and his team. My son (4 years old) had sleep apnea due to his tonsils and from our consultation to surgery and post check up's he has been amazing. He was reassuring and provided all the information we needed as nervous parents. Highly recommend him.

      Jelilat Oyetunji
    • Superb, excellent, my mum was suffering from a bad ear ache and I called in the morning and he was fully booked but when I said it was an emergency and I need my Mum to be seen today as she wasn’t able to sleep for 2 days, he took that into consideration and said he would see her by noon, thankfully Mum was relived and happy with him, such a kind person and immediately diagnosed my mums problems on the spot, thank you so much Dr!

    • Excellent results and an efficient service. I would highly recommend

      George Barrow

    Typical appearances of bacterial tonsillitis with white spots on the surface of enlarged tonsils. They can sometimes meet in the middle giving rise to difficulty in breathing and swallowing


    Tonsillitis due to glandular fever viral infection. Notice the continuous film of white debris as opposed to isolated spots which differentiate this from bacterial tonsillitis