What is a tonsillectomy and how is it performed recovery and risks?
Tonsillectomy is performed on a general anaesthetic, the patient is completely sleeping and unaware of the procedure. The surgery takes 30 minutes with the anaesthetic the whole procedure may take anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes. It is commonly done as a day stay procedure but in some patients, we may keep you overnight. Once you are asleep, a special mouth gag was placed in the mouth to open and visualise the tonsil area. Tonsils are removed by Coblation technique. Coblation is a special device which uses plasma technology with cold water irrigation during the procedure to reduce the temperature around any significant tissue damage. Coblation technique is now commonly used throughout the world and has the benefits of less pain, faster recovery, faster return to normal activity and eating.
A Tonsillectomy operation is a painful procedure in terms of recovery and the pain may last anywhere between 10 and 14 days. During this period you should be receiving strong pain relief and you should take this regularly even if you have got no pain. You should eat and drink normally keep hydration up at most times. There is a small risk (3%) of post-tonsillectomy bleeding where it could be a small drop of blood, teaspoon or half a cup of blood that could come from one of the tonsillar fossa during the recovery. While it is healing and it usually occurs if it rolled walker looker usually between day 7 and 40. You should suck some ice and cold water and 95% of this bleeding usually settles within half an hour. If the bleeding continues you should go to the emergency department or contact your surgeon. You may have to stay in hospital overnight. Usually, there is a very low chance of you having to return back to theatre for control of bleeding. Referred ear pain or a swallowing related lump in the throat sensation is common after tonsillectomy for a few weeks.
Commonly asked questions following a tonsillectomy adenoidectomy…
- How long does the surgery take?
Day surgical procedure of tonsils and adenoids usually go home after 4 hours occasionally we will keep you in for more than 6 hours. If you live alone or live 60 minutes from hospital we will also keep you in hospital overnight unless you have other comorbidities (other medical problems).
- How long does recovery take?
It will take 10-14 days for full recovery. You should try and eat full normal diet with plenty of fluids and take all medications prescribed. He may want to avoid going to the gym, parties, social gatherings or undertake overseas flight to 14 days after surgery. Gentle exercise, walk in the park is not contraindicated.
- Can I take medication after surgery?
You should avoid aspirin-containing medication or other homeopathic medication that may increase the risk of bleeding during the recovery period.
- What if I’m still in pain?
If you have severe pain despite taking all medications as prescribed contact the surgeon who can prescribe you short-term medications to relieve the pain.
- Do I need antibiotics?
Infection is uncommon following this procedure but if it does occur you may need a course of antibiotics.
- There may be a change in your voice, taste, mild neck pain following surgery but this should all improve within the first 4 weeks.
- There is no evidence that your immunity will be lowered following tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy. This is a myth!