In the early part of the twentieth century, tonsillectomies accounted for almost a third of all the surgeries performed in this country. Removing the tonsils was a standard part of childhood. With the development of more and better antibiotics, the infections that so often attack the tonsils are now being controlled, making surgery unnecessary. But when drugs become ineffective, or unusual swelling occurs, a tonsillectomy may still be called for. The tonsils are easily visible with the naked eye, located just behind the tongue on either side of the throat. When infected, they will appear red and inflamed. Removing them is a simple procedure which, while not as widespread as before, is still performed some 400,000 times a year. An examination by an ear, nose and throat specialist will determine whether or not a tonsillectomy is called for in your child's case.