Postoperative advice following tonsillectomy surgery

The following information is compiled to aid you in making a complete recovery.

Pain control

After surgery it is likely you will experience some discomfort or pain. This may last up to a week after surgery. You will be discharged with medicines to alleviate pain including, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Codeine and Difflam mouth rinse. These are best taken regularly at first and where possible you should take them half an hour before meals, unless the instructions on the package say otherwise. Some pain relief medicines contain codeine, which may cause constipation. Extra drinks and fruit or fibre in your food will help, or a mild laxative may be necessary. Earache is common after tonsillectomy. This will gradually get better. The pain relief medicines that you are taking will help.

You must not take medicines that contain aspirin, as this may cause bleeding. If you normally take aspirin to thin your blood, you should have already received advice from your hospital doctors about when it is safe to restart. If not, or if you are unsure, please ask the doctors on the ward before you leave.


We suggest that you try to eat normal food as soon as possible. Stay well hydrated, drink plenty of fluids but please avoid alcohol, acidic drinks/food and spicy or very hot foods.


Please clean your teeth as normal. You may wish to use salt-water gargles after meals can help to keep your mouth refreshed (one teaspoonful of salt to a tumbler of water). Sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing should not cause problems. Any medicines or tablets that you normally take can be taken when you get home, unless you are advised otherwise. If you are taking the oral contraceptive pill and you have bee prescribed antibiotics, the effect of the pill may be reduced. You may need to use additional methods of contraception. Your GP can give you more information about this.


The white appearance where the tonsils used to be is normal and does not mean that you have an infection. However, if you feel very unwell, have a fever (high temperature) or your breath becomes smelly, you may have an infection. If these develop you should contact the Hospital or your GP. Alternatives are to go to your hospital emergency department or use a walk- in centre for advice and treatment. Please let us know if you attend (GP, emergency department or a walk-in centre).


A common complication of tonsillectomy is bleeding at the surgery site. It may occur in the first 24 hours after surgery or up to 10 days after surgery. Minor bleeding is not a cause for concern; in most cases it resolves by itself. Gargling cold water will help to stop the bleeding; as this contracts your blood vessels.

If it does not resolve ie. vomiting or coughing up blood please go to your nearest A&E and would you also notify the Hospital and they will get in contact with Mr Martinez-Devesa. Extensive bleeding occasionally requires surgery or a blood transfusion.

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