Throat Surgery

There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend a medical or surgical procedure related to your throat, including some of these more common scenarios.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

Tonsils and adenoids are soft tissues made up of lymphoid glands that sit in the back of the throat (tonsils) or nose (adenoids). Infected or enlarged tonsils may cause chronic or recurrent sore throat, bad breath, dental malocclusion, abscess, upper airway obstruction, difficulty with swallowing, snoring, or even sleep apnea. Infected adenoids may become enlarged, obstruct breathing, cause ear infections, sinusitis or other nasal problems. For these chronic reasons, the tonsils and adenoids may be surgically removed. 

A tonsillectomy is performed on patients who have had recurrent or chronic tonsillitis, which begins as a severe sore throat associated with fever, headaches, chills and muscle pain. Tonsillitis is the inflamed condition of the tonsils due to infection. The adenoids are located high in the rear of the throat, behind the nasal cavity. Together, the tonsils and the adenoids form a ring of tissue that probably helps build an immunity to bacteria entering the throat area. The crypts and crevices of the tonsils and adenoids sometimes become filled with bacteria and old cells, which accumulate and cause infection and swelling. Tonsil stones may form as a result of trapped bacteria and food debris, which can also cause a bad smell (halitosis). The tonsils and adenoids may become so permanently enlarged that they interfere with breathing and swallowing. It is not always necessary to remove both the tonsils and the adenoids (which would be an adenoidectomy); however, they often become infected together and are usually removed at the same time.

Often these surgeries are done as an outpatient and you can return home the same day. Your doctor will be you specific postoperative instructions to aid in your recover.


A laryngoscopy is an examination that lets your doctor look at the back of your throat, your voice box, and vocal cords with a scope called a laryngoscope.

Flexible laryngoscopy is usually done in the office under local anesthesia with minimal discomfort.  It allows a real time look at the anatomy and function of the voice box and the back of the throat. Rarely biopsies can be done with this scope. You may have some numbness for up to an hour or so afterwards due to the medications, but otherwise the discomfort is minimal.

Direct laryngoscopy uses a rigid metal tube to look at the voice box and the back of the throat. This is usually done under general anesthesia to allow for manipulation of these areas, such as biopsies and careful inspection for tumors or other abnormalities. Typically, you can go home the same day.


Microlaryngoscopy is similar to laryngoscopy, but a microscope or telescope is used to provide magnification. This allows for more careful manipulation of the tissues, such as removal of small cysts of the vocal cords or other procedures that involve precise and delicate movements.

Vocal Cord Surgery

Vocal Cord Surgery may be done if there is a concern about a growth or tumor on the cords or for various voice problems.  Your surgeon will review restrictions with you, but strict voice rest is oftentimes necessary after surgery.


Bronchoscopy is a procedure during in which an examiner uses a viewing tube to evaluate the airway for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. A specialized scope is inserted through the mouth or nose to examine the airways for any abnormalities. Photographs and tissue samples may be taken during the procedure to check for abnormalities, bleeding, tumors, or inflammation.



UPPP is a surgical procedure used to treat sleep apnea. It is often combined with a tonsillectomy. The purpose of the procedure is to remove excess or redundant soft tissue in the back of the throat in the hopes that it will prevent or reduce the collapse of those tissues that can contribute to the airway obstruction occurring during sleep.

This particular surgery is done under general anesthesia. Sometimes you can go home the same day, but patients will typically be observed overnight to make sure there are no issues with your sleep apnea. Discuss with your surgeon if you should continue to use your CPAP during recovery from surgery. Typically one to two weeks off is necessary. Your swallowing will feel different but should eventually return to normal. Your surgeon will discuss risks and expectations of surgery with you. The postoperative care is similar to that of a tonsillectomy, and your doctor will provide you with tips for a streamlined recovery.


A uvulectomy is a surgical procedure in which all or part of the uvula is removed. The uvula is a bell-shaped organ that hangs from the top of the throat. Typically this is done in an attempt to reduce snoring, but some people need to have the uvula removed due to frequent infections or swelling of the uvula. It is removed routinely as part of a UPPP (above), and can be done under local or general anesthesia, usually as an outpatient procedure.

Rest assured, our skilled ENT specialists will take good care of you before, during, and after any surgical procedure you may need. If you have any questions, please call your clinic location or visit our online collection of Patient Resources for more information on Throat Surgery.

My daughter Vanessa can finally speak and hear because of Dr. Berman! I would recommend anyone with children who are concerned about their child’s hearing or speech delay to go see him. Not only is he a great Physician, he is also great with kids which makes the visit go a lot smoother.”

Nina R.

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