Tonsillectomy and Adenotonsillectomy


The throat will be sore, particularly with swallowing, for around 10-14 days.

For children we generally use regular paracetamol and ibuprofen. Each can be used 6 hourly and a good strategy is to alternate them (for example using paracetamol first, 3 hours later having a dose of ibuprofen, 3 hours after that another dose of paracetamol). For the first few nights and particularly in younger children it is often worth giving pain relief overnight, as otherwise they may wake with a very sore throat in the morning and not want to swallow.

For teenagers and adults, and kids who aren’t managing, stronger pain relief will be provided but we recommend using the paracetamol and ibuprofen regularly as above, with stronger pain medication as needed on top of this.

The pain often starts to improve after a few days but then get worse about day 5 postop – this is common and you may need to increase the pain medication again for 2-3 days.

Ear pain is common and due to referred pain from the tonsils.


There are no dietary restrictions and solid food is encouraged as much as possible – timing pain medication so a dose is taken 20-30 minutes before a meal may help with this.

Ice blocks / icy poles are also excellent to help soothe the throat and keep hydrated.

Chewing gum or chewy lollies keep the jaw moving and can help with pain.

If food isn’t tolerated but you or your child are still managing good fluid intake then this is acceptable but if fluid intake is insufficient, please contact the rooms.

Fever and bad breath

Bad breath, a white or yellow layer over the tonsil bed, taste disturbance and mild fevers (<38.5 °C) are also common during the healing phase. Please contact your surgeon if there is persistent fever over 38.5 °C.


Traces of blood in the saliva are fairly common but if you or your child are spitting up fresh blood or your child vomits a large amount of old blood, you will need to present to the emergency department or call an ambulance. You will need to stay within an hour of a major hospital (with ENT services) in the postop period (14 days).