Tonsillectomy - Midwest ENT Consultants

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TONSILLECTOMY
Dr. Scott M. Kaszuba, MD
(630) 420-2323
DIET
 Drinking liquids is very important, particularly the first days after surgery when the saliva
is thick and the throat uncomfortable. Liquids may be all that is taken for the first several
days, so be sure you serve something in addition to water that has some caloric content,
such as fruit sorbet, Italian ice, popsicles, juices, soda, and Jell-O. There is a tendency to
breathe through the mouth, leaving the mouth dry and the throat parched. Often there is
excess thick saliva, which can pool in the back of the throat, causing a gagging sensation.
Liquids lubricate the throat bringing comfort and help to liquefy the thick saliva. It is
impossible to drink too many liquids. IF your urinary output is sufficient, the fluid intake
is probably adequate.
 A liquid diet includes Jell-O, custard, yogurt, Gatorade, popsicles, apple juice, applesauce
and soups. You may progress to soft foods such as scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes,
noodles, macaroni and cheese, etc, within two to three days.
 Solid foods such as food needing a lot of chewing to swallow may be started immediately
after surgery if tolerated.
 Avoid caffeinated beverages and acidic fruit juices such as orange, cranberry, grapefruit
or pineapple as these will cause burning and discomfort. Many patients report enjoying
carbonated non caffeinated beverages that are chilled. Popsicles and slushes are also
popular. Milk products are usually enjoyed 2-3 days after surgery with saliva is less
thick. Milk may cause an increase in mucous. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
 Progress to a soft diet, when hunger dictates, for the remainder of the recovery time. It is
safest not to serve steamy hot foods and liquids, as heat may cause blood vessels to swell
and in turn, bleed. Warm foods are fine and they feel soothing.
CARE OF THE SURGERY SITE
 Keep fingers and other objects out of the throat. Gentle rinsing of the mouth with water
may be comforting. Do not gargle. Using a room humidifier will promote comfort by
keeping mucous membranes moist. Discourage vigorous coughing and nose blowing.
Sips of water or liquid can alleviate coughing.
 If you look in the back of the throat with a flashlight, you may see black and/or whitish
areas where the tonsils once were. These are scabs, which will release on their own when
healing is complete. They should not be disturbed. One commonly sees red-tinged saliva
for several days following a tonsillectomy.
 Use of Tylenol liquid or prescription liquid pain medication will promote comfort and
make swallowing easier. Encourage a drink before and after medication as it is thick and
may cause a gagging sensation. Keeping liquid medication in the refrigerator may make
it easier to take. Have food in the stomach before taking prescription pain medication.
Suppositories containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be used or children resistant to
taking liquid medication.
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Tylenol with codeine may be prescribed but by aware of stomach upset, nausea, vomiting
or headache from constant use. You may use Tylenol with codeine 2-3 times per day,
especially at bedtime.
DO NOT take aspirin or any products also containing ibuprofen type medications.
Ear pain is related to tonsillectomy. Take pain medications as directed
DO NOT TAKE REGULAR TYLENOL DURING SAME TIME PERIOD AS
TYLENOL WITH CODEINE. THIS WILL BE TOO MUCH TYLENOL FOR THE
LIVER. 4 HOUR MINIMUM BETWEEN DOSES OF TYLENOL.