Tonsillectomy, Information Before and After

A tonsillectomy is a surgery to remove the tonsils. This is often done because non-surgical (conservative) treatments have failed to help the problem. This procedure is also sometimes done if a tonsil seems to be abnormally large for no reason. Tonsils are lumps of lymph tissues at the back of the throat. Because tonsils can collect debris, they can become infected. Tonsils help fight infections. Removal of the tonsils does not cause an increased risk of infections.

LET YOUR CAREGIVER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Allergies to food or medicine.

  • Medicines taken, including vitamins, herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicines.

  • History of bleeding problems or blood clots.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems, including diabetes and kidney problems.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

You should be present 60 minutes prior to your procedure or as directed.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area for close monitoring. Once you are awake, stable, and taking fluids well, you will be allowed to go home. Throat soreness may continue for 2 to 3 weeks. There also may be pain felt in the ear that causes an earache.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not take aspirin. This increases the possibilities for bleeding.

  • Obtain proper rest. You may feel worn out and tired for a while.

  • Because of the sore throat and swelling, your appetite may be poor. Soft and cold foods such as ice cream, frozen ice pops, and cold drinks are usually tolerated best.

  • Avoid mouthwashes and gargling.

  • Avoid people with upper respiratory infections, such as colds or sore throats.

  • An ice pack applied to your neck may help with discomfort and keep swelling down.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • There is increased bleeding, if you vomit, or cough or spit up bright red blood.

  • Increasing pain that is not controlled with medications.

  • An unexplained oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C) develops.

  • You feel lightheaded or have a fainting spell.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop a rash.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You have any other allergic problems.