Tonsillectomy and Adenoids Surgery- What to expect post-operatively

Tonsillectomy (Surgery to remove of Tonsils) tends to be more painful in adults than children. However, pain perception and tolerance is different for everyone.

Adenoidectomy is removal of adenoids. Read more about tonsils/adenoids in my old post

What to expect after Tonsil /Adenoid Surgery?

  • Normally tonsillectomy takes half an hour to  45 min on an average, adenoid removal by traditional methods will take 30 minutes.
  • When the patient wakes up, he may be slow and clumsy for initial few hours.
  • He will be kept with head low and lying to one side post-operatively.
  • Patient is usually discharged in 4-6 hours, child less than 2 years of age and child with obstructive sleep apnea is admitted in hospital for 1 day.
  • Child/adult  may have mild soreness of throat for 7-10 days, mild earache (referred ear pain) for one week, blood mixed mucus for one week and mouth breathing for 10-14 days . These are normal after tonsils /adenoids surgery and settles with time.
  • Child may have mild fever for a few days and nausea or vomiting.

Key of post operative management is— “Good hydration” and “effective pain management”.

Pain after tonsils and adenoids surgery: – Pain reception varies from person to person, Adenoidectomy typically is much less painful than a tonsillectomy. Acetaminophen is usually given for pain relief. You can put Ice-packs around the neck to reduce the pain. Diet after tonsil surgery: – Ice cream is an ideal first meal after surgery because it is soft and offers comfort for sore throat.

  •  lots of cold water.
  • For first 24 hour patient can have cold yogurt, jelly, and pudding.
  • For one week soft, bland diet (should not be very hot) like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, soups.
  • Avoid acidic, spicy and rough food.
  • Lot of chewing-gums helps.

Medicine:Antibiotics are often prescribed for 5-7 days to improve healing, along with analgesics. Bad breath:Oral-hygiene is very important after surgery so the patient has to do gargles every time he eats something. Fluid intake should be encouraged. Mouth breathing /snoring: Due to post operative swelling in the throat patient may have mild snoring/mouth breathing  for 10-14 days after surgery. School, Work and physical activity: – After 7 to 10 days child can start to go to school and adult can start working. Heavy physical work is to be avoided for 14 days after surgery.

When to call/visit doctor?

If significant bleeding, high fever or signs of dehydration are present consult your ENT surgeon.

Before Tonsil/Adenoid Surgery, have thorough discussion with your ENT surgeon on what to expect of surgery.

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