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After Tonsillectomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.


After a tonsillectomy

, you will have throat pain that may last up to 2 weeks. The pain may be worse in the morning and spread to your ears. It may hurt to swallow. You will have white patches in the back of your throat. These are scabs that will fall off after about a week.

Adenoid and Tonsil Removal

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

Seek care immediately if:

Call your surgeon or doctor if:


You may need any of the following:

Drink liquids as directed:

Liquids help prevent dehydration. Liquids and foods that are cool, such as water, apple or grape juice, and popsicles, will help decrease pain and swelling. Do not drink citrus juices, such as orange or grapefruit. These may irritate your throat. Do not drink hot liquids such as coffee, tea, or soup. These liquids may hurt your throat.

Do not use straws for up to 2 weeks, or as directed:

A straw may increase your risk for bleeding.

Eat soft foods for 10 to 14 days to decrease pain while you eat:

Examples of soft foods include applesauce, scrambled or boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, gelatin, and ice cream. When you can eat soft food easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods. Avoid anything hot, spicy, or with sharp edges, such as chips.

Care for your mouth as directed:

Gently rinse your mouth as directed to remove blood and mucus. The white scabs that will form in the back of your throat will cause bad breath. This is normal. Brush your teeth gently. Avoid harsh gargling or tooth brushing. These can cause bleeding.

Limit activity for 7 to 10 days after surgery:

Get plenty of rest. It may take 1 to 2 weeks for you to recover. Ask when you can drive and return to work and other daily activities.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can prevent healing after surgery. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your surgeon or doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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