Sunday, August 28, 2022

Question from Linda - Tonsil and throat treatments

Ive been having some tonsil issues, and am due for a tonsillectomy soon. It made me curious and want to ask some questions about it. Did tonsillectomies exist in this era? If so, were the people put under some kind of anesthesia, or was the surgery done while the person was fully awake? Lastly, what kind of advice wouldve a patient been given for recovery time? Would he/she be told to refrain from things like, talking too much, avoid hot foods/beverages, only eat/drink soft, lukewarm, and/or cold foods/beverages, or wouldve it been different?


  1. According to the International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology, the first recorded tonsillectomies were performed thousands of years ago, but the procedure was so crude that few survived. Tonsillectomies were apparently exceedingly rare between the ancient period and the 1700s. By the 1700s, the procedure involved tying a cotton string around the tonsil and pulling it ever tighter over the course of several days until the tonsil "fell out." The surgical instrument for performing tonsillectomies (a "tonsilotome") was not perfected until the 1800s. And effective anesthesia was not invented until the 1840s. So it would seem that tonsillectomies were exceedingly rare and exceedingly dangerous ... and done without anesthesia ... during the Tudor period.

  2. Omg, eww! Thanks for the response. Reading this makes me so glad I wasn't a man, woman, or child with tonsil problems living, back then! The part with the cotton string around the infected tonsil, gave me goosebumps and made me want to barf! Glad I'm getting my tonsils removed, tomorrow, in the 21st century! Lol!

  3. Also, I will add that tonsillectomies have been done since ancient times, however, it wasn't "perfected" until the early-mid 20th century, in either America or the United Kingdom. I would like to imagine that most men and women waited, and/or made their children wait until/unless the tonsil infection got so bad they had no other choice because the way the doctors used to pull them out was so painful and stomach-churning, not to mention even life-threatening! (No anesthesia either until at least the Victorian era). There wouldn't have been any indulging in ice cream afterward, either, that is more of a modern day concept.


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