About the Tonsil Operation Register

In the Tonsil Operation Register, data is collected about tonsil operations. The purpose is to improve the quality of care.

What does the Tonsil Operation Register do?

The Tonsil Operation Register collects data from across Sweden about tonsil operations. With the aid of these statistics, we can reduce the problems that can occur after a tonsil operation. Common problems include bleeding from the operation wound, insufficient pain relief, nausea and vomiting, and the patient ingesting too little food and drink. Both bleeding and lack of fluid can quickly develop into very severe conditions. In the Tonsil Operation Register, there are statistics that show which operation methods and which routines cause the fewest problems. With the statistics, we can also compare how well clinics at different hospitals succeed.

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How does the Swedish tonsil operation register work?

Data in the Swedish tonsil operation register comes from two sources. The surgeon performing the operation submits details on why the patient had the operation and how it went. The patient or patient’s relatives submit details on problems that have arisen in connection with the operation and what the final outcome was.

Conclusions and improvements

The Swedish tonsil operation register contains data on around 50,000 tonsil operations in the country. Such a large database means it has been possible to draw confident conclusions in several areas.

Type of operation

If the patient’s problem is snoring, it can be sufficient to remove the protruding parts of the tonsils rather than a total tonsillectomy. The Swedish tonsil operation register shows that this results in significantly less pain for the patient. Haemorrhaging is also ten times less likely. Everyone who operates knows this. Total tonsillectomies are therefore no longer performed on patients who purely have problems with snoring.

Tonsiller före operation

What tonsils look like pre-surgery.


What they look like post surgery in the case of a total tonsillectomy.


What they look like post surgery in the case of removing protruding parts of the tonsils. This results in less pain and less haemorrhaging than in the case of a total tonsillectomy.

Surgical technique

There are hot and cold techniques for tonsil surgery. The hot technique involves removing them by heating the tissue to approximately 60 degrees such that the cells are divided. The cold technique entails surgically removing the tonsils with steel instruments. There are also hot and cold techniques to stem the blood flow. One hot technique is to heat the wound surface to several hundred degrees. The cold techniques involve stopping bleeding with compresses and by tying off blood vessels. The Swedish tonsil operation register data show that surgery with cold steel combined with cold blood stemming technology results in the lowest risk of haemorrhaging. This is relatively new know-how and Joacim Stalfors and his colleagues are working hard to spread it.

It is common for patients to be in great pain after tonsil surgery. A Swedish survey reveals that many hospitals in the country provide inadequate pain relief or give the wrong medication. The Swedish tonsil operation register management team have therefore developed guidelines for pain relief. Healthcare personnel have been trained and the information given to patients on pain relief has improved.
Better pain relief also helps patients who have problems related to consuming food and drinks. This problem is generally due to patients having difficulty swallowing. Nausea can also be alleviated.
Read more about pain relief >>

The questionnaire responses provided by patients and relatives reveal that the information given in association with the operation is poor. To help improve this, a patient website tonsilloperation.se has been created.