I Can't Stop Thinking About This Horrifying Tonsil Fact

Close-up of male doctor's hands examining throat of young female patient
Close-up of male doctor's hands examining throat of young female patient

Close-up of male doctor's hands examining throat of young female patient

If you’ve ever had tonsillitis, you’ll know how painful the condition can be. In fact some who get the condition regularly enough are given a tonsillectomy, a procedure in which the tonsils are surgically removed. 

The operation usually results in some pain, perhaps alleviated a little by a diet of ice cream and smoothies.

But I recently learned from Dr. Karan Raj’s video that for some, a sore throat and a liquid diet don’t spell the end of tonsil terror forever.


The doctor revealed in his TikTok that a tonsillectomy isn’t always final ― sometimes, tonsils grow back (I feel unwell).

He started his video by Stitching another TikTok user’s clip in which she explained that her tonsillitis had come back years after the operation. 

“Your tonsils can grow back even if you’ve had them removed,” the doctor confirmed. 

How can tonsils grow back after a tonsillectomy? 

“You’ve actually got four different types of tonsils,” Dr. Raj shared. “And it’s the palatine tonsils which everyone knows as THE tonsils.” 

These are also the ones that are most commonly associated with tonsillitis. And “even if you’ve had a full tonsillectomy, some tissue can be left behind,” the doctor revealed

The issue, he says, is that tonsils look a lot like the tissue at the back of your tongue ― which you certainly don’t want to remove during a tonsillectomy. 

So, cautious doctors could leave some tonsillar tissue behind ― “and in some cases, this can partially regenerate over time.” 

This grim growth can create what Dr. Raj calls a “zombie tonsil,” which can in turn become infected ― like your old ones could. 

Oh, lovely.

How likely is it that my tonsils will re-grow after a tonsillectomy? 

Thankfully, most of us have nothing to fear. 

Dr. Raj explains that cases of regenerating tonsils are rare, adding that it’s more likely to happen when the tonsils are removed from children as their “lymphoid tissue and immune system[s] [are] still growing.” 

“Even if your tonsils do regenerate, they won’t go back to the same size,” he adds. “And if you’ve had your tonsils removed, you can still get a sore throat and throat infections.” 

Well, that’s me haunted for the foreseeable future...