What to Expect When Preparing, Undergoing, and Recovering from Tonsillectomy

Preparing, Undergoing, and Recovering from Tonsillectomy

A tonsillectomy is a surgery to remove tonsils, the lumps of tissue on either side of the back of your throat. They help protect against viruses and bacteria that can get into your mouth and travel to your lungs and digestive tract.

Sometimes the bacteria and viruses that your tonsils protect you from can invade the tonsils. As a result, your tonsils can become infected, inflamed, and swollen, a condition that’s called tonsillitis. If they get infected often, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy.

Surgeons don’t perform tonsillectomies as frequently as they once did, but this procedure is still the most common surgery performed on teenagers. And even though this type of surgery is common for teens, adults may benefit from a tonsillectomy as well.

The two most common reasons for tonsillectomies are:

What happens before and during a tonsillectomy?

Before a tonsillectomy, you or your child undergo a comprehensive medical exam. This exam  includes a review of any current medications you’re taking. At Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists, we may recommend holding off or changing certain medications, including over-the-counter ones such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, a week or two before your surgery.

The day before or day of your surgery, we advise you to stop eating and drinking at a particular time to make sure your stomach is empty prior to receiving anesthesia.

During the procedure, you go under general anesthesia and don’t feel any pain. The surgery itself is short, taking only about 30 minutes. During this time, your doctor removes your tonsils through your mouth.

What happens after a tonsillectomy?

When you wake up in the recovery room, we check your vitals. If everything looks good, you go home the same day. If needed, you may stay in the hospital overnight. Once home, plan to rest at least for a week after your surgery and limit physical activity for two weeks.

The key to a healthy and quick recovery from surgery is to drink fluids and eat soft foods, or whatever you can tolerate, to build and keep your strength. You may feel some pain and soreness following the surgery. Your doctor sends you home with medication or a prescription for medication for your pain and a plan for when and how to take your pain medications.

The good news is that while the number of tonsillectomies that are performed has changed over the years, the recommendation to eat cold, soft foods like ice cream have not. So be sure to stock up on your favorite flavor before your tonsillectomy. Other foods and beverages that  soothe your throat, or hurt your throat less, include:

For more information on tonsillectomies, call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists with locations in Petoskey and Gaylord, Michigan. You can also make an appointment online through this website.

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