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Patient Information

What to Expect & FAQs 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.

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. Some may vomit once or twice after surgery. This is normal. Your doctor may prescribe something medication to reduce nausea.
  • Introduce 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 is not exposed to outside germs.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Most recover within two weeks but should follow doctor’s orders about activities. It’s important that you stay calm to reduce the risk of bleeding. Also, ensure that you drink a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Patients 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 eat spicy, hot, hard, or crunchy foods until the throat has fully healed. Patients are encouraged to eat frozen popsicles, gelatin, ice cream, pudding, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. These will be soothing to the throat.

FAQs for Tonsillectomy

What does the procedure involve?

Under general anesthesia, the ENT will perform the surgery through the patient’s mouth. There are no external incisions made during the procedure. The tonsils and adenoids are cauterized with a specialized tool that completely removes both and seals the wound. The entire procedure takes about 60 minutes, and most patients go home the same day.

How many incisions are made?

The tonsils and adenoids are cauterized. No cuts are actually made.

How long does a patient stay in the hospital?

This is normally an outpatient procedure, and you will most likely go home the same day.

What is the recovery time?

You will recover within two weeks; however, it is recommended to avoid certain activities and eat a modified diet to ensure that the surgical site heals properly. There is a risk for bleeding, so it is important that patients remain calm, eat a cool, soft diet and not lift heavy objects.