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Tonsillitis causes the tonsils to become swollen and painful. A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils. This procedure is typically performed to treat recurring or serious tonsil infections. A tonsillectomy may also be needed to treat patients with other issues caused by enlarged tonsils, such as sleep apnea. Tonsillectomies are usually done on an outpatient basis, which means you, or your child, should be able to go home the same day of the surgery.