Tonsils are part of the immune system. Located at the back of the throat, tonsils are tissues that make up the lymphatic system. Doctors suggest removing them when they get infected and result in major complications. These are removed in a surgery known as tonsillectomy.
Also Read: Functions of Tonsils
Before a tonsillectomy, a patient has several questions on their mind. They have some questions running on their mind which make them skeptical about the surgery. Here are the answers to the 8 frequently asked questions that patients ask ENT doctors prior to their tonsillectomy. This may help them prepare better for the same.
What are the potential risks and complications that can occur?
Similar to any other surgery, there is a possibility that some risks and complications can occur both during and after the surgery. The risks can occur due to the anesthesia effect also. Some people due to genetic factors are more susceptible to suffering from risks related to anesthesia. Hence, prior to the surgery, only an experienced anesthetist administers the anesthesia to make the patient unconscious. Here are some complications to look out for-
Low- grade fever
Feeling of nausea
Pain in the throat
Difficulty in swallowing
Coughing of brown-colored blood (completely natural)
Infection that causes ear pain, coughing, drainage of mucus, fever higher than 101 F
Allergic reaction to medicines given after the surgery
Damage to the teeth during surgery
Moreover, these side effects are likely to occur in those patients who do not follow the instructions provided to lower the chances of these complications. However, there’s nothing to worry about as these complications are absolutely treatable with some tips.
What are the post-operative instructions?
Here is a checklist of dos and dont’s that doctors generally prescribe to follow after the tonsillectomy.
Dos Don’ts Wrap a bag of crushed ice in a towel and place it on your neck as a primary measure to prevent bleeding. Abstain from smoking or even going to smoky areas as smoke will immediately cause your throat to start bleeding heavily. While brushing your teeth, be extremely gentle. Avoid gargling or mouth rinsing in a harsh way. Drink ice-cold water, sit down and rest without panicking. Avoid coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose as it might create a sudden impact and cause bleeding, Drink lots of fluids such as apple juice, soft drinks or grape juice to speed up the recovery as well as prevent the risk of dehydration. Do not drink juices from citrus fruits as these are acidic in nature and can hurt the throat. Rest or sit upright in a position that it doesn’t create pressure of tension in the throat. Rest needs to be assured for 2-3 weeks. Restrict eating sharp foods such as chips, crisps that can slow down the process of healing. Eat a bland diet yet nutritious food such as mashed potatoes, khichdi, porridge, etc. Limit your daily intake as it can cause the mucus to thicken. Stay away from infected people suffering from cold, flu, or sore throat. Avoid dryness in the throat. Keep the throat moist while inhaling only humid air. Hence, keep a humidifier in your room.
When can I resume daily activities after tonsillectomy?
After tonsillectomy, doctors recommend taking complete rest for the initial 48 hours. This is because the effect of anesthesia takes 48 hours to wear off. In some cases, it may take a couple of hours extra. After proper consultation with the doctor and depending on how you are feeling, you can start with daily activities on the third day of the recovery period. However, make sure that you start with activities that don’t make you feel tired or fatigue.
What should I eat after tonsil removal surgery?
In addition to the above-mentioned practices, the patient needs to keep an eye on the items of food he or she will have.
Foods to eat-
Smoothies and yogurt
Foods to avoid-
Citrus fruits and juices
Foods are crunchy or hard
Sour, pickled or salty foods
Tomato juice and sauces
Also Read: Healing food for sore throat
How long does it take to recover completely after a tonsillectomy?
Depending on factors such as the type of surgical method, age of the patient and overall health of the patient and the reluctance of following the post-operative instructions, the total time to recover varies between 3-5 days. In some cases, it can take some extra time for some patients to heal completely. After consulting with the doctor, one can start resuming work within two days.
What medicines should I take?
The doctors prescribe the following medications to curb pain and swelling in the throat. Make sure that you take only the prescribed amount of the prescribed medicines. Also, let the doctor know if you are allergic to them.
Pain killers: Do not wait for the pain to get terrible. Doctors generally prescribe medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to get relief from pain. Most of the time, the patient needs to take the medicine before the meals. Avoid taking a blood thinner such as aspirin. As this can increase the risk of bleeding.
Antibiotics: These generally reduce the risk of infection in the throat. There are several antibiotics such as Azithromycin, Amoxicillin, Augmentin, etc. It is very important to complete the full course of antibiotics to minimize the chances of any infection. Do not stop in between abruptly.
Will there be any effect on my immune system?
With the growing age, the immunity of a person starts building up. Hence, the body is able to recover faster and without any complications after any surgery. People with no underlying health condition should consider undergoing tonsillectomy. The reason being that this may or may not have any significant effect on the immune system.
Also Read: Effect of Tonsillectomy on Immune System
When to visit the doctor?
In case the patient is experiencing any one of the following conditions, they should visit the doctor immediately.
Feeling of swelling on the face or neck with redness which doesn’t subside soon.
Suffering from severe earache or throat pain that keeps on getting worse.
Having some itchiness or skin irritation
Spitting out pus or blood in your throat or mouth area.
Have pain and stiffness in earache with heaviness in the chest region.
Have trouble breathing or swallowing.
Unable to drink or pass very little urine all day.
Feeling weak or strained or are likely to faint when you stand up.
Suffering from bright red bleeding from your nose or mouth which looks worse than what you were told.
These are some common questions that patients ask the doctor after tonsillectomy. In case, you are having some more questions that need to be answered, consult with a Pristyn Care ENT Specialist by booking an online appointment today!