Dismiss Modal

Patient Information

What is a tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils. You have two tonsils. Usually tonsils and adenoids are removed during the same surgery.

What is an adenoidectomy?

An adenoidectomy is a procedure to remove the adenoids. Again, usually tonsils and adenoids are removed during the same surgery.

Prior to the Procedure:

  • Do not take any aspirin or medicines containing aspirin in them.
  • Nothing by mouth after midnight the night before surgery. 
  • If you takes medications, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medications about which ones to take and which ones that should not be taken until after the procedure.
  • If you become ill up to five days before surgery, please call the ENT office and tell the nurse about your symptoms.

Day of Your Procedure:

  • Plan to arrive two hours before your surgery time for pre-operative procedures.
  • The anesthesiologist will discuss types of anesthesia with you and answer any questions you have.
  • You will be taken into the operating room and be given general anesthesia by the anesthesiology team.
  • The tonsils and/or adenoids will be removed through the patient's mouth. There are no external incisions.

After the Procedure:

  • You will be taken to the recovery room.
  • Your support person will be called back to the recovery room to sit with you until you’re fully awake. You may go home at this point.
  • Your surgeon will update you on how the procedure went.
  • At home you may experience pain which can fluctuate during recovery. It may even increase on day five.
  • Take pain medications as prescribed.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. No sodas or acidic fruit drinks.
  • Get lots of rest.
  • Following a tonsillectomy, on average, adults miss approximately 10 days of work but this can vary from 7-14 days.
  • You may see a white covering in the throat. This is normal.
  • Keep your follow-up appointment.

Contact your provider if you have any of the following:

  • A fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Difficulty swallowing liquids.
  • Nausea and vomiting that occurs more than three times after the first 12 hours since the procedure.
  • A small amount of bleeding. Limited to one occurrence.

These symptoms require immediate emergency care:

  • Bleeding that does not stop in 5 minutes.
  • A large amount of blood on your pillow during the night.
  • Signs and symptoms of dehydration: You have not urinated at least twice in a 12 hour period, lethargy, not taking in any fluids.
  • Sudden onset of severe pain

Learn What to Expect from Tonsillectomy. 

Please call our office at 919-350-3277 during business hours Monday – Thursday, 8 am to 5 pm with questions or concerns. After hours or on the weekends, please contact the on-call doctor by calling 919-350-8000 and asking to page the ENT doctor on call.