Conclusions and improvements

The Swedish Tonsil Surgery register contains data over 100 000 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 surgery register shows that this results in significantly less pain for the patient. It is well-known that haemorrhaging is also ten times less likely. 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 surgery register data show that surgery with steel instruments combined with cold blood stemming technology results in the lowest risk of haemorrhaging.

Pain management

It is common for patients to be in great pain after tonsil surgery. A Swedish survey reveals that many hospitals in the country provided inadequate pain relief. The Swedish tonsil Surgery 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 management for children.


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 has been created.