A physical exam of the tonsils, throat, neck, and possibly other parts of the body
Blood or urine tests
Leading up to your procedure:
Arrange for a ride home.
The night before, eat a light meal. Don't eat or drink anything after midnight.
Talk to your doctor about the medicines you take. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to 1 week in advance.
is the most common. You will be asleep . If needed, the surgery can also be done with sedation and local anesthesia.
Description of the Procedure
Each tonsil will be grasped with a special tool. The tonsils will be cut away from the back of the throat and taken out. This may be done with a scalpel or hot knife. An electrical current, or clamps and ties will be used to stop bleeding .
How Long Will It Take?
About 20-60 minutes
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicines will ease pain afterwards.
Average Hospital Stay
You may be able to leave after the procedure. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for up to 2 days. If you have problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
The healthcare staff will watch:
Your vital signs
For any reactions
After you are fully awake, alert, and stable, you may be able to leave.
To help you heal faster:
Avoid talking, coughing, and singing for 1 week.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Avoid spicy, acidic, and foods that are harder to eat.
Eat soft foods for about 3-4 days. Slowlyreturn to a normal diet.
Don't swallow hard items such as crackers or cookies. They may injure the back of your throat.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Fever and chills
Redness, swelling, pain, excess bleeding, or pus from the back of your throat
Spitting or vomiting blood
Nausea or vomiting
Pain that you can't control with the medicines you were given
Coughing, breathing problems, or chest pain
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Tonsillectomy and adenoids postop. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: https://www.entnet.org//content/tonsillectomy-and-adenoids-postop. Accessed August 24, 2018.
Tonsils and tonsillectomies. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/tonsil.html. Updated May 2013. Accessed August 24, 2018.
4/16/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114262/Tonsillectomy: Burton MJ, Glasziou PP. Tonsillectomy or adeno-tonsillectomy versus non-surgical treatment for chronic/recurrent acute tonsillitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(1):CD001802.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 8/24/2018
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