Background: To examine the quality of life after tonsillectomy in a young adult group with chronic or recurrent tonsillitis. Methods: Retrospective survey of patients aged 15-25 years who underwent tonsillectomy for chronic or recurrent tonsillitis in 2002 or 2003. The Glasgow Benefit Inventory was mailed to patients who were selected from two private general otolaryngology practices. Results: Participants had an overall benefit from the procedure as well as improvement in their general well-being and physical health. A benefit in social function was not imparted. Conclusion: Tonsillectomy in a young adult group results in significant improvement in overall quality of life, physical health and general well-being.