Tonsillectomy

Thank you for the opportunity to care for you or your loved one.

Diet
We encourage patients to drink fluids and start with soft foods after a tonsillectomy. Patients may advance to more solid foods as tolerated. Dairy products and drinking from a straw are permitted.

Activity
Light to moderate activity is recommended. Heavy lifting, straining, and contact physical activity should be avoided for 2 weeks following surgery.

Pain
Your physician may prescribe a pain reliever and will advise you regarding nonprescription pain medication after surgery. Initially pain may be mild, then often increases later in the first week. After 7-10 days the pain should begin to improve. Ear pain can occur and will improve gradually. Adults generally take longer to recover. Do not take products containing aspirin for 2 weeks.

Bleeding
Bleeding may rarely occur after a tonsillectomy, occurring most commonly one week after surgery. If you experience blood-tinged saliva or small amount of bleeding, please rinse with cold water or ice water. If bleeding continues, please call the office to speak with our nurse during regular business hours. After hours, please call the office and follow the prompts to contact the on-call physician. If your call is not returned within 10 minutes, please call again. After hours, you may go directly to the hospital emergency department if the bleeding is significant. Please notify us if you do so. All of our doctors are on staff at WakeMed Main Campus.

Nausea/Vomiting
Some patients may experience nausea and/or vomiting after surgery. Your physician may prescribe medication for nausea. Please call to speak with our nurse if you need help managing nausea or vomiting.

Healing
The back of the throat often has a white or yellow appearance initially after a tonsillectomy. Over a few weeks, a normal pink appearance returns. The white or yellow appearance does not indicate infection. A white coating on the tongue is also very common. Temporary taste alteration or tongue numbness may occur. Severe halitosis (bad breath) is expected.

Fever
A low grade fever is common after surgery. Please contact our office if the temperature is 102°F or higher and does not respond to ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Voice
The voice may sound high-pitched or different initially during the healing phase. With time and healing, voice quality should gradually return to normal.

Constipation
Due to changes in diet, activity, and use of medications, constipation may occur. Please maintain good hydration. Over-the-counter stool softeners (such as Colace) or Miralax may be used if needed.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the office and ask to speak with the nurse.