Tonsillectomy: costs and care options

Choose the right path for your individual needs

At Practice Plus Group, we offer fast access to private tonsillectomy and tonsillitis treatment via self-pay, insured and NHS routes.

Where can I get private tonsillectomy treatment?

What is tonsillitis?

Before we look at what private tonsillectomy involves, it’s important to understand what tonsilitis is. Your tonsils are two glands which sit at the back of the throat and during childhood help us to fight infection. As we get older the role of the tonsils decreases and in most cases they shrink. Comparatively common in children but less so in adults is tonsillitis, a painful infection of the tonsils.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis can be caused by a viral infection such as the common cold or flu (and this is the most frequent cause) or by a bacterial infection which can cause complications.

Symptoms include:

  • A sore throat or pain when swallowing
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Ear ache
  • A high fever of more than 38 degrees Centigrade or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit

When should I seek treatment for tonsillitis?

In most cases, tonsillitis gets better after a week with painkillers, plenty of fluids and rest. Where it is caused by a bacterial infection antibiotics prescribed by your GP will also aid recovery.

However, some people suffer from long term or chronic tonsillitis which is where the condition lasts for longer, and/or keeps coming back. In these cases, surgery may be necessary where at least three out of the following criteria are met:

Criteria for tonsillectomy

  • Sore throats caused by tonsillitis
  • A chronic infection of the tonsils which stops you from functioning normally, eating or drinking or going to work or school
  • Seven or more episodes of tonsillitis in the preceding year which have been well-documented, clinically significant and adequately treated
  • Five or more episodes of tonsillitis in each of the two preceding years
  • Three or more episodes of tonsillitis in each of the three preceding years.

If tonsillitis and swollen tonsils are affecting your quality of life, talk to your doctor about private hospital tonsil removal.

What does the treatment of tonsillitis involve?

Removal of the tonsils is called a tonsillectomy and is carried out under general anaesthetic. It is one of the most common types of ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery. The main methods include:

  • Cold steel surgery – where the tonsils are cut out with a surgical blade and the bleeding is controlled by either applying pressure or sealing the blood vessels using diathermy
  • Diathermy – which is a probe used to destroy the tissue around the tonsils and to remove them while simultaneously applying heat to seal the blood vessels
  • Cold ablation – which works in a similar manner to diathermy but which uses a lower temperature and is considered to be less painful than diathermy
  • Laser tonsillectomy – in which lasers are used to cut away the tonsils and seal the blood vessels
  • Ultrasound – which is used in a similar way to lasers.

What happens in a private tonsillectomy?

There are actually two types of tonsillectomy surgery:

  • Traditional tonsillectomy – during this procedure, both tonsils are completely removed.
  • Intracapsular tonsillectomy – all of the affected tonsil tissue is removed by the surgeon. A small layer is left to protect the throat muscles.

After an initial consultation, an ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon will perform the procedure. During the operation, you will be under general anaesthetic. Access to the tonsils is through the open mouth. With this in mind, there is no need to cut skin and, consequently, little to no visible scarring.

How long does a tonsillectomy take?

Tonsil removal surgery takes between 30 minutes and one hour.

How long will I be in hospital?

You will usually go home on the same day as your surgery, but may have to spend a night in hospital depending on the time of day you had your surgery and your reaction to the general anaesthetic. If you are in and out in one day you will be advised to have someone who can get you to and from hospital – you will not be able to drive until the general anaesthetic has fully worn off.

Tonsil removal waiting lists

According to the NHS Waiting list Tracker, the current NHS waiting time for a tonsillectomy in England is between 17 and 18 weeks. This number changes depending on the region of the country. For example, the average waiting time in London is currently 16 weeks, while patients in the Midlands will have to wait for 21 weeks.

At Practice Plus Group, we follow a consultant led approach. You will be supported throughout by an expert ENT Consultant.

If, after your initial enquiry, you are eligible for surgery (and happy to proceed), you will receive a no obligation appointment. It will take place at a Practice Plus Group hospital appropriate for you within 2-3 weeks of enquiry.

Preparing for tonsil removal surgery

In the hours leading up to your tonsillectomy, there are a few things you’ll need to do.


  • Ensure your doctor is aware of any existing health conditions
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions. He or she may allow you to take medications with a sip of water the day of the operation.


  • Take paracetamol or medications containing ibuprofen within seven days of your operation
  • Eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of the operation.

What are the results and benefits of tonsillectomy?

On result of the procedure is that you are likely to experience pain for a week or two after a tonsillectomy. This can be managed with painkillers.

Among the benefits from private tonsillectomy are:

  • No further instances of tonsillitis
  • Fewer throat infections
  • Better sleep.

Tonsillectomy risks and complications

Tonsillectomy is a comparatively risk-free procedure. Some people experience ear ache after the operation but this is common and not a cause for concern.

Bleeding is common where the tonsils have been removed for anything up to 10 days after surgery and 1 in 30 adults will experience some bleeding after their operation. Minor bleeding usually clears up by itself and can be helped by gargling with cold water.

If bleeding is severe or if you are coughing up blood, you should seek medical attention immediately. Use the emergency contact number we have given you or call 111.

Pre-operative assessment

A pre-operative assessment is our opportunity to ensure that the procedure for which you have been referred is right for you. We’ll explain your private tonsillectomy procedure to you and make sure that you are well enough to go ahead with it. It is also your opportunity to meet the team who will care for you and to ask any questions.

Tonsillectomy recovery

Swallowing can be difficult after surgery but you are encouraged to eat and drink because this aids recovery. Cold water will not only keep you hydrated but also helps with pain relief by contracting the blood vessels. Avoid fizzy or acidic drinks (they will sting) and do not drink alcohol – this widens the blood vessels and can result in bleeding. Regular tooth brushing and using a mouthwash will help prevent infection.

Recovery time will depend on your general health but generally takes around two weeks.

Private tonsillectomy costs in the UK

If you don’t want to join the NHS waiting list for a tonsillectomy, private healthcare is another option. This route offers different ways to pay: you can choose self-pay private healthcare, or, in most cases, have your treatment covered by private medical insurance (if you have it).

In the UK, there’s no such thing as a ‘cheap tonsillectomy’. The average cost of the procedure privately is between £2,700 – £3,100. At Practice Plus Group, we’re committed to honest, transparent pricing and pride ourselves on offering treatments at a lower price than competitors. Private tonsillectomy at Practice Plus Group costs £2,430.

Ways to pay

There are 3 ways to access tonsillectomy at Practice Plus Group:

  1. Self-pay private healthcare
  2. Private health insurance
  3. NHS referral

Why choose Practice Plus Group?

At Practice Plus Group Hospitals we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.

Commonly asked questions about private tonsillectomy

Not quite found the information you’re looking for? Our Tonsillectomy FAQs might be able to help!

While tonsil infections are normally harmless, there are some symptoms you should watch out for:

  • Persistent throat infections
  • Trouble sleeping or issues with obstructive sleep apnea
  • Swollen tonsils making it difficult to eat and drink.

Yes. If you don’t want to use the NHS for your treatment, you can choose to become a private patient. Private tonsillectomy at Practice Plus Group costs £2,430 and you’ll receive specialist care at a state-of-the-art facility near you.

The answer to this question depends entirely on the patient, their specific issue, and the type of treatment available.

During laser tonsillectomy, lasers are used to cut away the tonsils and seal the blood vessels. It’s difficult to say whether this is a better technique than the others available. This will depend on the specific issue the patient is suffering from.

No. In children it’s considered a minor surgery. For adults, it’s a fairly routine procedure that carries a slightly higher level of risk. These include bleeding, vomiting and pain.

The pain associated with tonsillectomy is widely reported to be mild to moderate. It is the most painful in the hours immediately following the operation. The pain generally improves in the days after the procedure, but if it persists, you should consult your doctor.

While there aren’t many alternatives, tonsillotomy is an alternative to tonsillectomy for children. This involves the removal of part of a tonsil.

Where possible, if a patient is elderly, reacts badly to anaesthesia, or suffers from other medical conditions, a tonsillectomy may not be recommended.

The average cost of private tonsillectomy in the UK is between £2,700 – £3,100. At Practice Plus Group, we’re committed to honest, transparent pricing and pride ourselves on offering treatments at a lower price than competitors. Tonsillectomy at Practice Plus Group costs £2,430.


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