Post Op Instructions – Tonsillectomy

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We encourage patients to drink fluids and start with soft foods after a tonsillectomy. Good hydration will help healing. Patients can advance to more solid foods as tolerated. Due to diet changes and medications, constipation is not unusual.


Light to moderate activity is recommended. Heavy lifting, straining and contact physical activity should be avoided for at least one week following surgery.


Your physician will prescribe pain medication and will advise you regarding non-prescription pain medicines after surgery. Ear pain can be associated with tonsillectomy and should improve gradually with time and healing. Initially pain may be mild, but can worsen later in the first week. After seven to 10 days, the pain should begin to improve. Adults generally take longer to heal.


If you experience blood-tinged saliva or a small amount of bleeding, rinse with cold water or ice water. If bleeding continues and is significant, you should call the office at 908-788-9131 and speak with our nurse during regular business hours. If the bleeding is during non-business hours, call 908-788-9131 and have the answering service page the on-call physician. During non-business hours, you may go directly to the hospital emergency department, if the bleeding is significant.


Some patients can experience nausea and/or vomiting after surgery. Your physician may prescribe a medicine for nausea. Call the office at 908-788-9131 and speak with our nurse if this is a problem.


The back of the throat often has a white or yellow appearance initially after tonsillectomy. Over a few weeks, a normal pink appearance returns. The white or yellow appearance does not indicate infection.


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


Your voice may sound high-pitched or different initially during the healing phase. With time and healing, the voice quality should gradually return to normal. Children who have undergone a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may see a change in voice quality due to improved nasal airflow.