Tonsillectomy Method and Recovery
I am 36 and on Day 6 of tonsillectomy recovery. I had the “cold method” done. I have had an incredible recovery!!! I am so glad I didn’t chicken out getting this done (my reasons were cryptic tonsils that were causing tonsil stones which were causing a constant unpleasant taste in my mouth). Apparently it’s difficult to find a doctor who does the method I had done, because it’s a little old school. My doctor is Dr. James Ross, he is a head and neck surgeon (ENT) at Duke University, and he has performed thousands of tonsillectomies. I say this bc I know without a doubt that it was his method and technique that has given me such a positive recovery.
Cold Method Tonsillectomy Surgery
Dr. Ross uses cold to control the bleeding during surgery, and he cuts the tonsils away with just a plain ol’ scalpel. He then “spot-welds” to cauterize any individual blood vessels that are bleeding. He will use a few stitches, but only if he was faced with increased bleeding that forced him to use too much cauterization. Dr. Ross has been around a long time and he said the more he cauterizes the more painful the recovery will be. This is why he does a procedure that is a little longer in the OR, but his method does not destroy any unnecessary tissue either. I take it he is not a fan of thermal-welding or coblation for those reasons.
So, with that said the first thing in your recovery is knowing what procedure you are having done bc that will set the whole stage for how you will live your days post-op. Day 1, immediately after surgery was the worst for me bc as the throat numbness wore off the pain was bad! But as soon as I got my pain meds right a few hours later, it was smooth sailing. I was on oxycodone and I never took it on an as-needed basis… stay ahead of the pain! Day 1-3 I took 10ml every 4hrs and then gradually started cutting back to 5ml and then 2.5ml and adding a Tylenol in every 4 hours. One thing I wish I did immediately was add a stool softener in with the narcotics. I figured that out on Day 2… the narcotics really make your bowels fall asleep!
As for eating, I had very little food restrictions so I pushed myself to eat immediately and I’m glad I did! It really helps the healing process! I had mac and cheese, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, soup, pancakes… I mean if I could handle it, I ate it. Not too hot, though… just luke warm. I had no problem with dairy… I ate yogurt and ice cream. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and probiotics so it’s a really good food choice if you can handle it! Raspberry fat-free sherbert was still my favorite thing to eat, though! I also got bags of ice chips from Sonic bc you can get pellet ice there. For the first 4 days if I wasn’t drinking ice cold water, I was sucking on ice. I had a humidifier blowing right in my face when I slept, and for the first few days I set alarms to wake every 2 hours to drink water and every 4 hours for pain meds.
Day 6 now and I slept great last night… my throat stung a little when it would get dry so I drank water each time I woke, but only really got up for pain meds. I’m telling ya…. stay ahead of the pain!! Another thing to mention is that with my procedure, I have very little chance of post-op bleeding. The thin white healing tissue that forms over the incisions have looked healthy and just totally white from Day 1, none of this black mess in my throat you see from patients who have doctors who remove tonsils with lasers and heat. I’m so glad I got this done! Not every tonsillectomy recovery story is a nightmare! Feel free to email me if you want more info about my recovery or my doctor. I would recommend my doctor and his technique to anyone!
And one final thing… I am married with three small kids (youngest being 7 months). I had no problem talking or even getting up out of bed to spend time with my kids. Actually on Day 5 I felt so good I had to force myself to not overdo it. My mom came in for 2 weeks to help, and my husband took 3 days off work. That’s huge… don’t go at this by yourself. You need rest and help, be sure you have someone to help! Good luck to all!!!