Richmond’s Sinus and Allergy Specialists

Tonsillectomy Postoperative Instructions

Postoperative pain varies from one to ten days. Use the prescribed pain medication and drink plenty of fluids. You may resume sedentary work or school as soon as you feel capable. Most patients resume normal diet and activity within the first week. However, it is not uncommon for the pain to peak on the fourth day. Tonsil and adenoid pain often radiates to the ears, even if ear surgery was not performed.

Drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods as tolerated. Small children need at least four cups of fluid daily, and adults need eight cups. You may prefer to avoid citrus juices, spicy foods and sharp pointy foods such as potato chips. Do not worry excessively about nutritional balance or caloric intake. Fluid intake is more important.

White patches will appear where the tonsils were and remain for two to three weeks. Mouth odor is expected. Use mild mouthwash if necessary. Nasal congestion may be present for the first two weeks following surgery. Slight fever (99-101) may last for up to 5 days. Speech and swallowing will be awkward for several days or weeks.

Bleeding can occur as long as two weeks after surgery. If bleeding begins at home, do not become alarmed. Elevate your head and turn your face downward to minimize swallowed blood. Gargle gently with peroxide or ice water for 10 minutes. If the bleeding is more than two tablespoons, or does not stop promptly, call the surgeon or call for an ambulance. Try not to leave town for two weeks, so that if you need us, we will be available.