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After Tonsillectomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.


What you need to know about a tonsillectomy:

A tonsillectomy is surgery to remove your tonsils. Tonsils are 2 large lumps of tissue in the back of your throat. Your tonsils may need to be removed if you have throat infections often or trouble breathing during sleep.

Adenoid and Tonsil Removal

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth or eyes. You may urinate less than usual or not at all.
  • You have severe pain.
  • You are vomiting.
  • You have a fever higher than 102°F (39°C), or a low-grade fever for longer than 2 days.
  • You have bright red bleeding from your throat, nose, or mouth, or your bleeding gets worse.

Call your surgeon or doctor if:

  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Drink liquids as directed. This will help prevent dehydration. Liquids and foods that are cool or cold, such as water, apple or grape juice, and popsicles, will help decrease pain and swelling. Do not drink citrus juices, such as orange juice or grapefruit juice. They 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 by your healthcare provider. Drinking from 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. Once 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. This can cause bleeding.
  • Limit your activity for 7 to 10 days after surgery. Get plenty of rest. It may take 2 weeks for you to recover. Ask when you can drive or return to work.
  • 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.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.