Facts sheet for Tonsillectomy

A tonsillectomy is the surgical extraction of the tonsils, which are two pads of glandular tissue on both sides of the back of the throat. Tonsils help protect the body against infection which may enter by the nose or mouth. They are prone to infection and enlargement, which can lead to a condition called tonsillitis. A doctor usually suggests a tonsillectomy when the condition is frequent and critical or causes complications.

Procedure of a Tonsillectomy

A tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will use a specific device to keep the mouth open so that they can see the tonsils during the procedure. The procedure takes almost 45 to 60 minutes. This includes the anesthetic, the operation and time spent in the recovery room. 

Generally, you have to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. A tonsillectomy is a day-care procedure. A daycare procedure implies that once the surgery is complete, the patient is able to go home on the same day after proper observation. With the advancement of technology, this is possible with tonsil surgery.

Also Read: What Happens During Tonsil Removal Surgery?

Preparation before surgical procedure

Well, in most cases, a patient has to stop taking blood-thinning medications. Also, your ENT specialist may ask you to stop medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen for a week before the operation.

Also Read: Negligence towards recurring ENT illness can lead to a chronic disorder

How To Take Care After A Tonsillectomy?

Everyone reacts differently to surgery. But what one needs to do is convince that a doctor is to designated to help. You may feel better and get treatment and medications.

Take lots of fluids

Many people refuse to drink fluids because of throat pain, but they must be asked to drink a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. This can lead to increased pain and a high chance of bleeding.

For the first couple of hours, you will be allowed to consume fluids such as water, cordial, ice block, etc. Once you start to tolerate clear fluids, you’ll then be allowed to have non- carbonated fluids such as milk, ice-cream, and custard.

Regular meals

Afterward, returning to the recovery room or observation room, you can eat regular meals. In the first eight hours, you may eat without too much discomfort after a local anesthetic used in the surgery.


It is of utmost importance to maintain the fluid intake to prevent dehydration at home. You should be allowed to continue the normal diet as well as routine. Some foods may cause discomfort when eating so it should be avoided for a few weeks. Chewing gum or lollies will increase saliva production and help to reduce jaw stiffness.

Going back to school

You may need to stay home, i.e. not go to work or gym for a week and should avoid all sports and rough play. Also, as you take rest, play games such as puzzles, reading and watching DVDs at home.

Oral Care and Bad breath

During the healing process, a patient may get bad breath. 

Drink plenty of water will help reduce the odor and teeth should be brushed as normal. The area from where the tonsils have been removed may turn yellow/white which is also normal.

Pain Management

After the treatment, a pain relief medication will be prescribed by the doctor. Paracetamol and Oxycodone are used for pain relief after tonsillectomy. Throat pain persists for a few days and is at its worst around the fifth or sixth day after surgery. The pain will then ease until the seventh or ninth day after surgery when some of the scab covering the tonsillectomy site falls off.

Moreover, after a week, the pain with subside. There have been cases where people have experienced a mild earache after a tonsillectomy. Mostly because the ears and the tonsils share the same nerve. This may include waking up at night for one or two days after the surgery.

Do’s and Don’ts After Tonsillectomy 

What To Do After TonsillectomyWhat To Avoid After Tonsillectomy
Make sure that you take medication and eat or drink properly else it may be putting them at risk of bleeding and dehydration.Do not wait if you have pain. 
Record the name of the medication, and the date and time you have given it to keep track of medication usageDo not give Aspirin, as mentioned above, for two weeks after the operation.
 Ibuprofen may be given after the operation but at the doctors’ discretion.Do not give any pain relief medicines without checking with a doctor as some salts may double-up with prescribed medication.
Local anesthetic lozenges can also be used by older children to supplement pain relief.


  • Paracetamol (PCM) can be given every four to six hours as directed with a maximum of four doses per 24 hours
  • If pain is not relieved by Paracetamol alone, Oxycodone can also be used; it can be given every four to six hours, with a maximum of four doses per 24 hours.

When to seek urgent medical attention after Tonsillectomy?

Call your doctor or the hospital immediately if you:

  • have red blood in their nose or mouth
  • are having high temperatures above 380C
  • have increased throat pain which is not relieved by medication
  • unable to eat or drink
  • having a feeling of nausea or vomiting with no sign of relief
  • are dehydrated
  • are extremely unwell

Post-operative review

A review or a follow up will be advised by the doctor for your child after the surgical procedure. The same will be performed on an outpatient basis. If you have any concerns before the review, schedule a follow-up with the surgeon. An ENT specialist is the best person to share the exact answer to you.

Also read: Aftercare For Kids After Removal of Tonsils

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