Top 10 Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips

Though I’ve added to the initial 10, these are my top tonsillectomy tips for anyone preparing for, or recovering from tonsillectomy surgery:

Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips
Greg Tooke’s Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips
  •  Drink cold fluids
  • Continue to drink cold fluids
  • Drink more cold fluids! This is perhaps the single most important tip to make life easier while speeding up your recovery period.
  • Get a good cool air humidifier and run it all the time in the room you’re in.  Consider having more than one for the primary rooms you’ll be spending time in.
  • Don’t worry about sleep. Forget the normal time convention. Sleep for short intervals, preferably in a recliner. Sleep can be your worst enemy. Sleeping a few hours in a bed usually results in a dry throat that hurts like crazy. It can take almost an hour to get the pain back under control.
  • Keep a written log of your medications as you take them. It’s easy to forget what you’ve taken and when. If you would have problems that require help from the doctor, it can come in handy.
  • Read about others’ experiences and share your own. (Check out the tonsillectomy surgery forum)
  • Plan ahead! Stock up on items you’ll need ahead of time for your tonsillectomy recovery.
  • Take something with your pain medicine. Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ensure will at least provide a base in your stomach and reduce nausea.
  • Drink ice cold liquids!

A few bonus tips for better tonsillectomy recovery time:

  •  Plan some minor events. Even a simple event like a walk or a bath can take your mind off the discomfort and help your mindset during tonsillectomy recovery
  • Chew sugarless gum. When pain gets referred to the ears, and it often does, chewing gum can ease the ear pain. It also keeps the swallowing process active, which many believe aids in tonsillectomy recovery. A warm compress on the area can also relieve ear pain.
  •  Ice! Whether it’s a high-tech ice bag or a bag of frozen peas, applying ice directly to the throat and neck is a great way to reduce inflammation and take the edge off of break-through pain. (thanks Kate!)
  • Those are my top tonsillectomy tips. For a detailed daily checklist, check out my upcoming book.

I’ve put together a collection of items that I think would be helpful, if not essential, to making tonsillectomy recovery a little more pleasant. Check out the Tonsillectomy Recovery General Store.

Some Extra Tips – After Tonsils are removed:

  • It’s REALLY important that you drink. I know it’s almost impossible at times, but you must. A trick I used was to use Cloraseptic (sp?) numbing spray. (There’s also a lollipop your doc or pharmacist might know of)- to numb the throat a bit. Then I’d take the medicine. Once the meds kicked in (1/2 hour?), then I’d try to eat. My favorite foods at first were Jell-o and creamed soups. (sweet potato or broccoli by V-8 were good)
  • You must keep drinking it helps your throat heal and keeps you hydrated. One gal, a nurse, said she went to an emergency room and demanded IV fluids. Wow! Maybe not such a bad idea!

-Greg Tooke 

45 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips -Greg’s Top

  1. My one tip: Buy a child’s toothbrush, it’s much easier considering it’s hard to open your mouth that wide the week after surgery

    1. Welcome back Allison! And thanks for the great comments!

  2. I am starting to freak out! I am having my tonsils out on November 21st and all of the horror stories have let my imagination run wild. I am trying to go into it with a game plan and positive attitude. I am 30 years old. Does anyone have any experience with a good pain med that does not create as much nausea? My doctor is wanting to prescribe me liquid vicoden and I have always gotten sick from it in the past.

    1. No tips, but I’m here to say I just got mine out too! It’s been 5 days, but they say day 7 and 8 are the worst. I haven’t been through any real pain yet. I’m crossing my fingers that it won’t come to that!

      1. Hope things stay smooth for you Jake!

    2. Hey,

      I’m day 6 and finally starting to feel human again. I was disappointed with the information provided before surgery and was no where near ready for the after affects. The most pain came from drinking, the first sip of water was such a shock I was expecting relief I suppose but instead the intense stinging and burning was horrible. That said, the goal is to keep the throat moist, I found drinking difficult but slowly sucking on lemonade icy poles was my saviour. It sort of melts in your mouth and just slides down without as much muscle action. I’ve gone through about 10 boxes so far. Another tip that has changed my recovery entirely, take medications orally as normal. I was prescribed suppositories and they worked well until I could no longer physically use them as they caused the same if not more pain down there. Get rid of the liquid foul tasting make me want to vomit stuff, take tablets! One quick swallow and your done. Have an icy pole to numb first. I swapped to oral two days ago and can say that I am 80% back to normal since. I’ve been waiting for things to get worse again, as it’s day ) and they say 7 is the worst. But so far so good. I’ve been going about daily life fairly normally (minus work) I go shopping and have short visits with friends. Fresh air is amazing and seeing friends lifts my spirits. Stay strong, pain is temporary!!!

  3. I had a tonsillectomy as well as UVPPP to trim the uvula, septoplasty to straighten the nose and turbinoplasty to remove turbinates from the nose yesterday morning around 11am (took 2 hours). I woked up in the recovery room coughing blood but was under control in under a few minutes. Was still affected by the anaesthetic for the next 4 hours so wasnt in too much pain. Even when I had some jello around 5pm it was ok didnt hurt too much to swallow. I also hate icecream, juice, ice popsicle, and custard. Avoided the yoghurt because of the small fruit pieces and mineral water for fear of its acidic contents. Didnt need to take any strong painkillers other than 2 paracetomols(Panadol) every 4 hours. I found it hard to pee though as urine was blocked I suspect from the anaesthetic. Stayed in the ward overnight and today Saturday morning discharged at 10am.

    So on my first day of recovery now so far its been ok. I can say the pain is no worse than a sore dry throat you get from any sore throat but hoping it doesnt get any worse than this which Im worried will happen since everyone is saying it will get worse from day 4 onwards? I think I made it worse by eating some cooled down scrambled eggs in the afternoon because I’m already tired of eating jelly and gooey food and wanted some protein and thought that scrambled eggs was soft enough to take. I ate the whole thing and noticed my sore throat getting worse. So am back to the soft gooey food for now..

  4. I had my tonsils out Monday morning. I have not had any intense pain yet. Mostly my throat looks horrible and the wound on 1 side is deep. Even so, I’m still taking pain meds about every 8 hours. I had some lean cuisine pizza today with no problems. We’ll see what the rest of the week holds. I’m drinking about 3 liters of fluid a day.

  5. Hi. I am 40 years old and had my surgery on Friday, so I am on day 2 I guess. I am in more pain than I thought possible. I am having to sleep upright in my recliner because every time I lean back even a little I feel like my airway is being closed off. My doc said it was the swollen uvula. I also feel like I have drainage running down the back of my throat all the time, almost like I have a cold. Is this normal? I do have chronic pain due to other health issues so I am on stronger pain meds than most (in addition to the meds for the throat). My issue is that I have not found a pain med that actually works except things they give in the hospital. I am praying for a quick recovery because I don’t think I can handle all this extra pain. Requesting prayers from you all. Thanks and have a great Sunday!

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