Tonsillectomy - tonsillar tissue removal

The tonsils are small lumps of tissue located at the back of the throat as part of the immune system, which helps fight infection and protects the body from bacteria and viruses. If you have recurring bouts of tonsillitis or it is severe enough to interfere with your everyday life, your surgeon may suggest removing your tonsils. This is done in an operation known as a tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy is one of the most common major operations carried out on a daily bases.

What is Tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy is an operation to remove the tonsillary glands. Removing the tonsils will not put your body at greater risk of developing infection. The body’s immune system is perfectly able to cope with bacteria and viruses without the tonsils.

How tonsillectomy is performed?

The procedure is done under a general anesthesia, which means that you will be asleep during the procedure. Your mouth will be held open so that your surgeon can see your tonsils, and no cuts will be made in your skin. Your surgeon will use special instruments to remove your tonsils before closing the wound with dissolvable stitches.

How long will it take and how long do you stay in the hospital?

The procedure is carried out 30-45 minutes and you will usually need to stay in hospital for only one night.

When can you return to work?

After your tonsils had been removed you will need to rest for at least 10 days and will normally not be able to return to work until the third week. Try to keep yourself away from smoky environments and from people with coughs or colds. It is advisable NOT to exercise until four weeks after your surgery.

Recovery after your tonsillectomy

Following a tonsillectomy, you may feel groggy and sleepy as a result of the anesthesia. You will normally need several hours in a hospital ward after the operation to make sure you are recovering normally. Most patients will find that their throat feels slightly sore after the procedure, which can be nicely managed with regular painkillers. After the tonsils have been removed, the throat appears white. The new lining of the throat forms under the white coating. As the throat heals, the white coating gradually disappears. This takes about two weeks. It is important to clean your teeth regularly as this helps fight infection in the mouth.

Eating and drinking

After the operation, as soon as you are fully awake, you will receive ice lollypop and then you have to start drinking liquids two to three hours after the operation. You can usually take your first meal on the evening after surgery. You will probably find swallowing difficult but it is important to eat solid foods as this will help the throat to heal more quickly. Drink plenty of fluids.

  • You may want to take painkiller about an hour before you eat as this may make it easier to eat and swallow the food.
  • It is also very important to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid very hot baths and showers as this may lead to hemorrhage. Take these cold.
  • If you are taking Aspirin you should discuss this with your surgeon as you may need to avoid taking aspirin for a few days prior and after the operation. Aspirin can potentially increase the risk of bleeding.

Risks of Tonsillectomy

Many thousands of tonsillectomies are performed every year without any problems. The possible problems are outlined below:


Occasionally, you may have some bleeding. Serious bleeding is rare and can occur up to 10 days post-operatively. A little fresh blood in your hanky is no cause for concern but if it starts dripping actively, you should:

  • Sit down in a chair and relax. (Do not lie down)
  • Place an ice-pack (or a bag of frozen peas etc) over your forehead.
  • Try sucking an ice-cube.

If these measures do not stop the bleeding and it continues unabated without any sign of slowing down after 15 minutes, you should go to your closest Accident and Emergency (Casualty) department. Avoid all moderate and heavy physical activity, including sport for ten days after the operation. Avoid bending down to pick things up, especially heavy weights.

How to Eat After Tonsillectomy Surgery

Every patient hears about all the ice cream he can consume after having his tonsils removed. Though ice cream does soothe a raw, painful throat after a tonsillectomy, it’s not the only dietary choice. Eating the correct types of food and avoiding others is essential. The correct post-op diet decreases recovery time and allows your throat to heal quickly. After the first 3 days, you should move to solid foods. Recovery from a tonsillectomy takes between 1 to 2 weeks. During this time, slight weight loss may occur but is quickly regained after full recovery.

Liquid Diet

Immediately after your tonsillectomy, it is important to drink fluids to hydrate your body. Clear liquids are initially encouraged after the anesthesia wears off. Water, clear juice (not acidic) and chicken broth are ideal beverages. Drink the beverages cold or at room temperature, but never hot. Warm or hot beverages may irritate the surgical area. According to Associates in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery; drink 4 oz. (1⁄2 cup) of liquids every 30 minutes. Avoid acidic beverages such as citrus and tomato juice, which will burn your throat. Add additional beverages to your diet when you feel comfortable and do not feel nauseous. However, milk and dairy beverages are not encouraged until 24 hours after surgery.

Soft Foods

As soon as you are tolerating liquids well, add soft foods to your diet. Include eggs, soft cereals and yogurt on your breakfast post-tonsillectomy menu. Lunch and dinner soft food items can include pasta as well as steamed fruits and vegetables. Enjoy sweet treats such as pudding, custard, ice pops, Italian ice, and of course, ice cream. Avoid pineapple, grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes and cranberries because they are too acidic. Prepare foods at room temperature. Most any easy-to-chew, soft foods are appropriate after your tonsils are removed.

Solid Foods

Attempt to switch from a soft food diet to a solid, normal diet as soon as possible. Though your throat may remain sore for up to two weeks, it is critical not to rely on soft diet foods. Gradually add small amounts of solid food into your meals.

Suggestions and Tips

After a tonsillectomy, it is critical to avoid hard or crunchy foods for the first 10 days. Examples of these foods include crackers, pretzels, popcorn, cookies and chips. Eat shredded chicken or tuna. Chewing gum may also relieve muscle spasms and decrease pain associated with your tonsil surgery, as advised by the Cleveland Clinic. After your surgery, you may not want to eat due to pain. However, the more you use your throat, the faster your pain will decrease.

After your surgery – first 24 hours

Following tonsillectomy, you may feel groggy and sleepy as a result of the anesthesia. They will normally need several hours in a hospital ward after the operation to make sure they are recovering normally. Once the doctor is satisfied, your will be able to go home. Most of the patient will find that their throat feels slightly sore after the procedure. This is perfectly normal. You will be totally pain free with the regular oral painkillers. Smaller child may prefer to be treated with suppository.

Eating and drinking

You will normally be able to start drinking liquids two hours after the operation. Usually the first magic lollypop will be given you as soon as you are fully awake. You can begin eating several hours after that. You may want to take the painkillers about an hour before you eat, as this may make it easier to eat and swallow the food. It is also very important that you drink plenty of fluids, so do not become dehydrated.

Postoperative First week

  • You may get a blood stained / pinkish discharge for a few days
  • Swelling and bruising around the eyes will disappear slowly
  • Avoid very hot baths and showers
  • If you take aspirin you should discuss this with your doctor
  • Remain indoors at least during the first week
  • Only gently blow your nose after nasal irrigation for 10+ days
  • Avoid strenuous activity (jogging, swimming, bending, sexual activity) for 2 to 3 weeks, as it may increase your blood pressure and the risk of bleeding
  • Avoid contact sports, hitting or rubbing your nose and direct sun exposure for 8 weeks
  • Avoid wearing glasses without consulting your doctor once the splint is off
  • Contact lenses can be used as and when you wish


Dr Levente is an expert in the nasal surgical field.  Completed his Rhinoplasty training program in Chicago, Milano and London. Member of European Academy of Facial Plastic  Surgery and Royal Collage of Surgeon. Licensed under GMC (UK), DHA, DHCC (UAE) . International known speaker for nasal shape and function sessions.  Performing only nasal surgeries on a daily basis. His premise “Since all of us are unique, each nose needs to be tailored to its individual features“

Dr Levente is committed to make the The Right Nose which best to suits to your face.

About dr. Levente

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