Can Tonsils Grow Back?

Made of lymphoid tissue, tonsils are precisely located at the back of your throat and provide your immune system with information to help it work efficiently. During early stages of your life, those tonsils are quite large but shrink down to the size of small nubbins after childhood. Tonsils or lymph glands in your throats can swell in response to any inflammation in your throat or nose. This may happen due to acid reflux, allergies, or chronic irritation. Enlarged tonsils can lead to breathing obstructions and cause other problems as well. To prevent complications, you sometimes have those tonsils removed through surgery.

Can Tonsils Grow Back After a Tonsillectomy?

The answer depends on how they have been removed. Adenoid tissue and tonsils can regenerate if they have not been removed completely. It means your tonsils can grow back if there is only a tiny amount of tissue left after surgery. This is however quite rare. Even if they start to grow back, the chances are they will never grow back to their original size.

It is important to understand that during tonsillectomy, you doctor will also remove the lymphatic tissues, adenoids, between the back of your throat and your nose. They may also regenerate after removal and have a faster growth rate as compared to tonsils.

Why Can Tonsils Grow Back?

Now that you know the answer to your question--Can tonsils grow back after surgery, you may also want to learn more about exactly why it happens. You may go for partial or full tonsillectomy, and there may be different reasons why tonsils regenerate after these procedures. For instance:

  • Full Tonsillectomy: A delicate fibrous capsule is between the muscles of the throat and the palatine tonsils. During full tonsillectomy, your doctor will remove the palatine tonsils as well as their fibrous capsule. There will only be a thin membrane left in place. In most cases, a full tonsillectomy successfully removes all tonsil tissue, but that does not happen in all the cases. Even a small amount of tissue is enough to start regeneration, and your tonsils may grow back also if you have sustained inflammation.
  • Partial Tonsillectomy: People opt for this procedure usually to increase the recovery time. The procedure involves trimming down the tonsil tissue, which means a good part of tonsil tissue will still be there. That tonsil tissue can regenerate.

Even when there is a small amount of tonsil tissue left in place, the growth is usually quite slow. However, several factors may promote regeneration of your tonsils. For instance:

  • Chronic inflammation may promote tonsil regeneration. Inflammation is usually the reason why people have their tonsils removed in the first place, and it can still cause trouble after your surgery.
  • Tonsils may regenerate after surgery if you have them removed at a very young age. That is mainly because tonsils may have not finished growing when you opt for a procedure, so the chances are they will continue to grow even after removal. Your tonsils continue to grow at a steady rate until you are 8 years old. After that, they begin to shrink with adenoids disappearing completely.
  • You may notice tonsils growing back if you have a history of acute tonsillitis or allergies. Similarly, upper respiratory tract infections may also play a role in tonsillar regeneration.
  • Your tonsils may grow back when you have malignant tonsils – this usually indicates tonsil cancer.

How to Tell If My Tonsils Have Grown Back?

Many people think they will never have to deal with strep infection after they have their tonsils removed. They usually find them in a surprise when they experience the opposite. This is when they ask--Can tonsils grow back after surgery?

You need to understand that having your tonsils removed completely will definitely decrease the number of infections, but you can still get throat infections. What you should bear in mind is that having a throat infection does not automatically imply that your tonsils have grown back.

If you are worried, you may want to check it in the mirror and look for bumps at the back of your throat. There may well be small bumps, but you should not worry about them. You may want to see your doctor if you have chronic throat infections or notice any symptoms of sleep apnea.

What to Do If My Tonsils Have Grown Back?

Now that you understand the answer to your question--Can tonsils grow back after surgery? you may also be wondering what you should do if they actually grow back. If it is really happening with you, you are among the very few who experience this phenomenon. A small bump is nothing to be worried about, and even if you are experiencing any infections, your doctor can prescribe you antibiotics to resolve the issue.

In some cases, your doctor gives you steroids to help shrink your tonsils. If that does not work, you may have to undergo another surgery. However, it is important to understand that your doctor is not going to order another tonsillectomy unless they believe your tonsils are malignant or enlarged tonsils are causing severe breathing or swallowing problems.

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