Operation of the Tonsils

Removing the tonsils is a common, routine operation. The reason for this operation can be because of recurring throat infections or because the tonsils are so large that they have led to difficulties in breathing, swallowing or speaking. Some people believe that removing the tonsils will lead to more infections somewhere else in the body, but that is not the case. If, because of enlarged tonsils you have a thick voice, then this should become clearer after the operation.

You should be in good health (no temperature, cold or cough) when you come to the operation. The last time when you are allowed to eat food is 6 hours before the operation, but you may drink clear fluids up to 2 hours before. The operation is carried out under anaesthesia and the tonsils are removed through the mouth. When children are operated on it is common to remove the adenoids behind the nose at the same time. A blood loss of 1-2 dl is normal. Postoperative bleeding can occur, but is uncommon.

After the operation:

You will be given pain relief as needed. A couple of hours afterwards you may drink some water or eat some ice-cream. If you feel well you may leave the clinic after 6 hours. Those patients who live far away will stay for overnight on the ward. You should not be on your own on the first night at home in case you require some sort of assistance.

You may feel temporarily worse after 3-4 days. It is not uncommon to experience pain in the ears or the tongue afterwards. You will also notice a whitish film on the back of the throat and may also experience bad breath. We suggest you sleep with a slightly raised head for the first few nights.

Should there be some bleeding following the procedure you should lie down, spit out the blood and suck on a piece of ice. The bleeding will normally stop on its own. If it does not then you should contact us and if the bleeding is significant than you should contact the nearest hospital.

Food and drink:

You may eat and drink as you feel fit, the best time being when your pain level is at its lowest – we do not recommend hot food or fizzy drinks. For a couple of days you may experience a little fluid coming back up your nose when you drink, but this is normally temporary. You may experience temporary constipation, loss of weight and fatigue. Do not plan any journeys for the first few weeks following the operation.