Most Tonsil surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis. An overnight stay isn’t required. There will still be a recovery period to consider.
If your ENT recommended tonsil surgery, you should be prepared for the recovery period to last 7 – 12 days.
What to expect during recovery of a tonsillectomy
- You may notice a fever for a day or two after the surgery. Call your ENT if the fever is about 102ºF.
- Most people will have mild to severe throat pain after surgery. Some may experience ear pain or pain in the jaw and neck. This is completely normal. Before you go home after the procedure, the ENT will prescribe medication to control the pain.
- You may experience a few spots of blood from the nose or in your saliva, but if you see bright, red blood, call the ENT right away or go to the ER.
- Drinking plenty of water and clear liquids are important to recover after tonsil surgery. Water or apple juice is good following surgery. Cold liquids help to reduce swelling and pain. It is normal to experience nausea or vomiting in the first 24 hours. This is due to the anesthesia. It should go away after the anesthesia wears off.
- To reduce nausea, avoid dairy and only drink clear, cold liquids. If you see signs of dehydration like crying without tears or urination less than two to three times a day this is a cause for concern. Call your ear nose and throat specialist right away if you become dehydrated.
- After surgery, it is usually recommended to eat a soft diet during recovery for comfort. The quicker you eat and chew normally, the quicker the recovery. Some people may be reluctant to eat because it hurts their throat. This could result in some weight loss, but it will come back after recovery.
- Mouth breathing, or snoring is normal for the first weeks after surgery. This is caused by swollen tissue in the throat. This swelling will go down and normal breathing and sleeping should return after two weeks.
- A scab will form where the tonsils were removed. This is a normal part of the healing process. The scabs will be thick and white and will cause bad breath. Don’t worry. This is normal. The scabs will begin to break and fall off between 5 and 10 days after surgery.
When is it okay to go back to work or school?
It’s OK to go back to school or work when you can eat / drink normally, you don’t need pain medication, and you can sleep through the night. Don’t travel by plane or go too far from a medical facility for the first two weeks after surgery without discussing it in advance with your doctor.
During the recovery period, it is your job to keep stay as healthy and comfortable as possible.
If you have questions or concerns during the recovery process, don’t hesitate to call Allergy ENT and Allergy.