Tonsillectomy Tips From Patients

Tonsillectomy Tips

As I’ve written, there was much that I did not know as I planned, experienced, and recovered from my own tonsillectomy. My Ear Nose and Throat doctor, (ENT), and his nurse gave me some general information about the surgery. We talked about how tonsillectomy surgery was performed, what the risks were, and what to expect after my adult tonsillectomy surgery.

In addition to this information, I tried to arm myself with as much information from other sources as I could. The internet is filled with medical information and advice. Some of it related to tonsillectomy. Some of it is accurate. Some of it is valuable to a person considering or recovering from tonsillectomy surgery. Most of it is not. Some of the scariest information I got was from my family and friends. Everyone seemed to have some horror story about an adult dying from tonsillectomy, or having a near-death experience from bleeding or anesthesia. As if I wasn’t nervous enough!  Fear and anxiety are usually born of uncertainty   The more we know about what to expect, the better we are able to execute a task without irrational fears.

I’ve read thousands and thousands of comments on the various pages of this website. One message is expressed again and a gain: Knowing what to expect helps enormously! This is your chance to do others a great service. Take your wisdom, born of personal experience, and help others. When you shine a light for others, you also light your own path.

For a live discussion about tonsillectomy and tonsillectomy recovery, join us in the Tonsillectomy Recovery Forum

Tonsillectomy Tips

Tonsillectomy Advice

The doctors, nurses, bloggers, publishers, family and friends all helped shape my expectations about what to expect before, during and after my tonsillectomy. None of it compares to the value of actually experiencing it. I learned more in the weeks before and after my adult tonsillectomy than I could have learned from years of research. This website is filled with over 50 pages of that wisdom.

If you are reading this, you probably have some experience yourself. How would you like to help someone who is trying to decide whether to have a tonsillectomy? Help someone planning or recovering from tonsillectomy surgery? By answering this one question, you may be able to save someone from a struggle you had:


92 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy Tips From Patients”

  1. I am now a month and a half post-op after having a tonsillectomy at 34. This site was so valuable to me while I prepared for my surgery. I was so nervous and being able to read and prepare helped my anxiety tremendously. I wanted to pass a few things on that I learned that made my life so much easier during my recovery.

    The weeks before my surgery, I made a TON of chicken and turkey stock (bones/meat, onion, carrot, celery, water, salt, and a tablespoon of vinegar boiled in water for several hours and strained). I would freeze it into ice cube trays and bag up the cubes. It was helpful to eat cold and warm and easy to portion out. As you are feeling better, you can also mix in mashed potatoes or biscuits/toast. And it is much healthier for you than other soups!

    People rave about Dentyne Ice and they are not kidding. Get plenty!

    Yogurt (acidophilous) was not at all something I wanted to eat, but I got pretty nasty thrush and yeast infections from the antibiotic and this helps prevent it.

    Ask your doctor before your surgery to prescribe you an anti-nausea medication. Trust me, this is a HUGE help. Feeling nauseated from pain meds seems to be one of the major issues that people have post-op. You may want to also get a stool softener to take daily to prevent other issues from the pain medication.

    Get 2 ice packs (so you can always have a cold one available) to put on the outside of your neck for the first few days. It makes a huge difference. These are the ones I used:

    Do not sleep in a bed if you can help it. A recliner with a neck pillow will be less painful.

    USE A HUMIDIFIER. I cannot stress this enough.

    Get a piece of paper or dry-erase marker board to keep track of your medications and when you take them. It becomes kind of confusing, especially when you are not sleeping as much.

    A heating pad is crucial for those first days where you start to eat. You are going to have major ear pain that often coincides with eating, and I would wrap this around my head and the pain would subside pretty much immediately. This is the one I used (it was nice and long)

    Brush your tongue with baking soda and rinse with Biotene. It will help keep your mouth a bit cleaner (especially for thrush) and it does not have burning alcohol.

    Manuka Honey was a big lifesaver and I think helped me heal up faster than normal. I also did not have the bad smell from my scabs that a lot of people complain of. Here is the one I got:

    Liquid vitamins help keep your body going while you are not eating all that much.

    The first couple of days you will not feel as bad. Try and eat as much as you can in these few days.

    EVERYONE says this but it is probably the most important tip I can give. NEVER EVER miss your pain medication. Take it at exactly the same time every dose. If you are late with a dose, you will regret it. Also, no matter how tired you are, set an alarm so that you do not sleep for more than 2 hours without a drink of water. Again, it is a HUGE HUGE HUGE mistake not to.

    Chloroseptic spray really helps take the edge off. Especially toward the time you start eating again.

    Wet wipes are fantastic because you will likely not feel like taking a shower for a few days. This helps you feel less scrungy and more human again.

    Be ready with lots of TV/Movies. You probably won’t feel up to doing much else.

    I was lucky enough to have my mom come and take care of me, so if you are able, have someone come help you out the first week. It made a huge difference. I did not realize how hard this was all going to be to manage on my own.

    My list:

    Gatorade/Protein Water
    Dentyne Ice
    Cream of Wheat
    Mashed Potatoes
    Yogurt (acidophilous)
    Mac and Cheese
    Peppermint Tea

    Neck Pillow
    Ice Trays
    Heating Pad
    Chloroseptic Spray
    Anti Nausea Meds
    Biotene Mouthwash
    Liquid vitamins
    Tylenol (CVS has a full strength version that is not for children)
    Wet Wipes
    stool softener
    Baking Soda

  2. I’m 17 and had my tonisils removed on the 11th of December 2012 (a month tomorrow) my main tip is to eat!!! As painful as it is.. the rougher the better. It’s excruciating but worth it because if you don’t your throat will clog up, it also knocks off the scabs and you odnt even notice it. Try and stick to your usual diet, I did my best but just with very small portions! Another thing is to drink loads and loads, I found my pain was the worst when my throat became dry, I couldn’t drink water for some reason as it was just excruciating so stuck to milk instead and when I got sick of it just had strawberry mistake :)! It’s been a month and my breath is the worst it’s been yet but maintaining a normal diet does manage to reduce bad breath after your tonsilectomy. Pain is the worst between days 3-7 I found and after that is mostly just odd bits of pain, I still get it now but it doesn’t compare to how it was:) on day 6 I was put back in hospital for 3 days after getting a blood clot which burst and led to infraction, if you get any funny symptoms I recommend going straight to your doctor, even if it turns out to be nothing. Any bleeding after day 3/4 really that is fresh (bright red) needs looking into aswell. I’m no expert but my doctor’s were great, I got loads of information sheets and advice off them, plus personal experience, I hope this is useful to anyone going through it!!

  3. Best first solid food – pumpkin pie! Had first solid food on day 6 – pumpkin pie, and it was perfect. A step up from all of the overly sweet popsicles, slushies, etc. but nothing that stuck to the back of my throat or made it burned. Also, didn’t have to chew a lot (which helps with sore jaw). I absolutely would have tried this on day 4 (maybe 5) to help balance my stomach that had nothing but liquids and pain meds. And, if you are still worried about scratchy parts of the food, just avoid the crust.

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