Cryptic tonsils immediately following surgical removal (bilateral tonsillectomy).
Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure in which each tonsil is removed from a recess in the side of the pharynx called the tonsillar fossa. The procedure is performed in response to repeated occurrence of acute tonsillitis, sleep surgery for obstructive sleep apnea, nasal airway obstruction, diphtheria carrier state, snoring, or peritonsillar abscess. For children, the adenoids (also known as a pharyngeal tonsil or nasopharyngeal tonsil) are usually removed, a procedure called adenoidectomy (or tonsilloadenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy when combined). Adenoidectomy is uncommon in adults in whom the adenoids are usually vestigial. Although tonsillectomy is performed less frequently than in the 1950s, it remains one of the most common surgical procedures in children in the United States and many other western countries.