Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy
Hopefully the following information will be helpful for expectations after having tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. The procedure itself is associated with significant sore throat, which lasts for 10-14 days for children and 14-21 days for adults. The pain can vary from day to day and is not always associated with daily improvement. There are pain fibers in the throat, which sometimes go to the ear, and it is not uncommon after tonsillectomy to have ear pain, which may more frequently occur at night or in a lying down position. This may not happen at first, but may be delayed. This is usually not associated with or indicative of an ear infection.
On the day of the procedure, I discourage much eating or drinking. In combination with the anesthesia and anxiety about the procedure and perhaps swallowing blood, can be irritating for the stomach and patents do better with minimal intake. By the following day most of this has subsided and one would then be encouraged to begin with liquids for nutrition and fluids. It is recommended to avoid anything citrus that could cause burning. Milk products are not a problem.
During the healing phase, typically the tongue is coated, the breath is foul, and if one were to look in the back of the throat, the area where the tonsil were typically has a white film with surrounding area of redness. The uvula, which is that part which hangs directly down in the back of the throat, typically is swollen but does not block off the breathing passage. I discourage looking back there, as it does look like the world's worst infection but this is typically how the throat looks after tonsillectomy.
After the procedure, one is given pain medication. If the strong pain medication is not need, Tylenol would be recommended. Tylenol does also come as a liquid and as a suppository. We would recommend avoiding all other over the counter products, such as aspirin, Advil, Motrin, and Aleve, as these do affect the platelets and can be associated with bleeding.
After the procedure, typically we give patients an antibiotic to cut down on normal bacteria, which helps the healing. Even with the antibiotic, one would anticipate a low-grade temperature.
One of he most important factors for healing is nutrition. Certainly with having a very bad sore throat, it is difficult to take in nutrition. I highly recommend any of the high calorie drinks that would help the healing process, such as Carnation Instant Breakfast, Slim Fast, Ensure, or Sustacal.
During the first 10 days we recommend being home with minimal activity. The week after that should be light activity and the week after that one should anticipate getting back to full activity.
Unfortunately, bleeding is a possibility. Statistically this occurs 4% of the time and can occur up to two weeks after having the tonsils out. Sometimes a small amount of blood can be noted and does not indicate a problem, but if there is any significant bleeding or any concern, please feel free to give my office a call at any time for a questions or direction to take.
In any operation, unfortunately, there are always risks. With tonsillectomy, the risks include anesthesia, bleeding, infection, dehydration, difficulty swallowing, uvulopalatine insufficiency and numbness of the tongue.
If there are any questions or concerns after reading this, please give my office a call to go over any points or address any concerns.
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