Post op instructions for
A Department of Lakes Region General Hospital
TONSILLECTOMY AND ADENOIDECTOMY
Patients cannot use aspirin, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Naprosyn, fish oil, garlic supplements, Vitamin E,
ginko, coumadin, or any blood thinner at least 1 week prior to surgery and none post-surgery until at
least 3 weeks post-surgery. Most patients are admitted the same day as surgery.
Surgery is performed (most often under General Anesthesia) and then patients remain in the hospital
until they are swallowing liquids adequately. This usually is within 4-6 hours post operatively. They
are to remain on cool liquids and advance their diet slowly as tolerated. Pain usually gets worse
several days after surgery and is most severe between the 3rd and 7th post-operative day.
Most common is bleeding. There are two times that this can occur. Just after surgery, or a few hours
later there may be some bleeding. Bleeding severe enough to require going back to the operating
room occurs about 1% of the time. Another chance for bleeding occurs about one week post-surgery
as the coating over the surgical area falls off. Delayed bleeding occurs about 2% of the time.
Nausea and vomiting can occur for the first 12 hours after surgery and is most often related to the
anesthesia. Weight loss - due to decreased caloric intake can happen, therefore, we encourage fluid
intake to keep the patient well hydrated.
Infection - true infection of the surgical area is rare.
Pain in the ears
- this is referred pain from a nerve that travels through the ear to the throat. This
most often does not represent an infection.
Whitish plaques in throat
- this represents the healing surgical area.
- related to the whitish plaques.
- will last as severe for about one week. Then will slowly improve over the second post-
Tightness or pain when yawning or opening mouth-
this is related to healing and normal scarring
of the tonsil removal site. After 2 weeks from surgery patients can help this problem by swallowing
frequently and/or chew gum (if capable without choking).
Pain levels –
these will vary post-surgery but pain tends to increase from surgery to the 3rd or 4th day,
then pain is the worst until the 8th day, and gets better over the next few days.
1. Easiest are cool liquids. Especially clear liquids like non-citrus juices or flat soda.
2. Milk products are OK, but should be held off for first few days if possible.
3. Soft foods - eggs, warm cereal, puddings, etc. can be tried as tolerated.
4. Can slowly advance diet. Avoid eating hard or sharp edged foods like chips, pretzels, hard rolls,
or crunchy cereals. Also avoid acid sauces such as spaghetti.
5. The patient should schedule a follow-up appointment for 4-6 weeks after the date of surgery.
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