Tonsillectomy, Post-Op Bleeding

You have had surgery to remove your tonsils. Bleeding at the surgery site can happen after surgery. The healthcare provider can often control it using direct pressure or applying medicine to shrink the blood vessels. If this fails, you will need to return to the operating room for further treatment. Notify your healthcare provider at once or return to this hospital if there are signs of any further bleeding.

Home care

  • Your throat will be sore. Throat pain after surgery improves over the first 7 to 10 days. It's normal to have more pain at the end of the first week before it finally goes away.

  • Soft foods will be easier to swallow.

  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Fluids also help ease pain by keeping the area moist. You must continue to drink even though your throat hurts.

  • For pain relief, suck on ice cubes or frozen fruit pops, eat ice cream or sherbet, and drink cold liquids.

  • You may also use liquid acetaminophen. Don't take ibuprofen or aspirin. These may increase bleeding risk. If your healthcare provider has prescribed pain medicine, take this as directed. 

  • If you have sleep apnea, talk with your healthcare provider before taking any opioid medicines or medicine with codeine.

  • If antibiotics were prescribed, take these as directed until they are gone.

  • Don't overheat your home since this dries the air and may irritate throat tissues, especially at night. A cool-mist humidifier in the bedroom may help.

  • Don’t have contact with people with colds or the flu during the recovery period. You may be more likely to get ill during this time.

  • Smoking irritates the surgery site. If you smoke, this is a good time to stop. Talk to your healthcare provider about help with quitting.

  • Don't do heavy exercise, lifting, or straining for 2 weeks, or as directed by your healthcare provider.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to see medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • Trouble speaking, swallowing, or breathing

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Bleeding from the mouth

  • Fever over 100.4°F (38.3ºC), or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Increasing pain not controlled by pain medicines

  • Signs of dehydration: Very dark urine, less urine, dry mouth, weakness

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