Everyone gets a sore throat from time to time, and sometimes the tonsils in your mouth can become infected. Tonsils are not the only vulnerable glands in your mouth. Adenoids- which are located higher up in the mouth - can also get infected. Enlarged and inflamed adenoids can make breathing difficult and lead to recurring respiratory infections and snoring.
Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed in order to have the tonsils removed. The tonsils and adenoids are masses of lymphoid tissue located behind the nasal passages. Infected or enlarged tonsils may cause a chronic sore throat, bad breath, abscess and upper airway obstruction which may cause difficulty with swallowing, snoring or sleep apnea.
The instructions below are designed to help you or a loved one recover from surgery as painlessly as possible. Taking care of yourself or the individual having surgery can prevent complications. As all surgical procedures have risks and potential complications, it’s important to understand what is involved before, during, and after surgery.
- The patient must stay in bed on the day of being discharged from the hospital.
- The patient may be allowed up (indoors) the day following the operation.
- The patient may be allowed outside the following day, but must remain indoors at night for 10 days and off from work or school for seven days.
- The pain after a tonsillectomy is due to stiffness of the throat muscles. The more that you chew and eat, the sooner the pain will be relieved. It’s important to start eating solid foods as soon as possible, e.g. bread and a full diet. Biltong is a good food to chew. A Panado or another analgesic 30 minutes before a meal will relieve the pain and allow solid foods to be ingested easier. Avoid eating bananas, acid or salty foods and condiments.
- During the first postoperative week, a sore throat, earache and a slight rise in temperature are normal responses and should not cause concern. If however these symptoms become severe or if bleeding occurs and you become concerned in any way, please contact either your local GP or myself.
- The area from which the tonsils were removed will heal with the formation of a yellow scab. This is a normal healing pattern, and does not indicate infection.
- Days five to seven are the most painful postoperative days. Patients can expect earache and a mild temperature. This can be treated with the pain medication prescribed at the time of surgery.
Please expect a period of tiredness and irritability after surgery. Whatever the effort made, having an operation is still a very stressful experience and rest, healthy food, lots of fluids to drink and plenty of sleep will speed you towards recovery!