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What to Expect from Tonsillectomy

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking certain medicines 10 days in advance of the surgery as advised by the doctor.
  • Ask the doctor which medications you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you have.
  • Let your doctor know if you develop a cold, flu, fever or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that the procedure be rescheduled.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • You will not be able to drink or eat anything for six to eight hours prior to surgery.
  • Take any medications the doctor approved with a small sip of water.
  • Arrive at the hospital at the given time.

After Surgery

You will most likely be able to go home after recovering for several hours.

  • Please limit any activities for the first couple of days.
  • You may be slightly nauseated from the anesthesia. You may vomit once or twice after surgery. This is normal. Your doctor may prescribe some medication to reduce nausea.
  • Begin a soft, cool diet to start and avoid any hot foods for the first several days to allow for healing.
  • Your throat will be sore for several days. Sometimes an ice pack on the neck may help with swelling and pain. You may have to take pain medication to help reduce the discomfort.
  • Remember to prop your head on two or three pillows to help reduce swelling and to make yourself more comfortable.
  • Do not allow visitors for the first few days so that you remain calm and protected from outside germs.

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks

Most children recover within two weeks but should follow doctor’s orders about activities. It’s important that your child stay calm to reduce the risk of bleeding. Also, ensure that he or she drinks a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. Children are at most risk of bleeding after one week as this is when the scabs start to fall off. Remember to keep them calm to make sure that there is no excessive bleeding.

Tonsillectomy patients have pain off and on for the first few weeks, and it’s crucial to monitor the types of food and drinks available to them. Do not give your child No spicy, hot, hard or crunchy foods until the throat has fully healed. Encourage your child to eat frozen popsicles, gelatin, ice cream, pudding, mashed potatoes and yogurt. These will be soothing to the throat.