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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Tonsillectomy: Home Care and Complications
      Category : Health Centers > Throat Disorders


Alternate Names : Palatine Tonsillectomy, Lingual Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

What happens later at home?

After a tonsillectomy, a person should drink enough liquid to avoid dehydration and to keep the throat moist. While a few people can eat a fairly normal diet right away, most people are comfortable with a limited variety of beverages and soft foods. Some foods should be avoided, including:

  • acidic or sour beverages, such as tomato or citrus juices, which may cause more pain to the throat
  • very hot or spicy foods, which can also cause pain
  • rough or scratchy foods, which should be avoided for at least 10 days. These foods may knock the scabs off in the back part of the throat and cause severe bleeding.
  • Pain medications should be limited to those prescribed or recommended by the surgeon. Aspirin products must be avoided after tonsillectomy because of the possibility of bleeding.

    What are the potential complications after the procedure?

    Most cases of hemorrhage, or bleeding, after tonsillectomy occur in the first 5 to 7 days after surgery. This bleeding should be reported immediately to the surgeon, who may use electrocautery to stop it. A hemorrhage may be the first sign that the person has an overall bleeding problem.

    The pain from a tonsillectomy is usually most intense in the first 48 hours after surgery. It starts to ease off but may worsen again 4 to 6 days after surgery. The second peak of pain is often accompanied by severe ear pain. Usually there is nothing wrong with the ears. The pain just happens to radiate at this point in the recovery.

    The scabs in the back of the throat often lead to a foul taste in the mouth accompanied by very bad breath. Antibiotics may help with this problem.

    A successful tonsillectomy makes the symptoms disappear. After the surgery, strep throat infections are quite rare. Removal of the tonsils in children cures about 95% of sleep apnea cases. Someone who has had difficulty swallowing because of enlarged tonsils can usually swallow normally after recovery. A person with cancer may need other surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

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    Tonsillectomy: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: Mark Loury, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/05/01

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