Removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) and/or adenoids (adenoidectomy) is one of the most frequently performed throat operations. It has proven to be a safe and effective outpatient surgical method to resolve breathing obstruction and recurrent tonsillitis. As with any surgical procedure, along with the well-known benefits, there are also rare side effects.


Side Effects & Risks

The most common side effect is post-operative pain. It is similar to what you would experience with a common throat infection. Pain medications will help alleviate some of the symptoms.

In a small percentage of cases, there will be some post-operative bleeding. It can occur immediately after the surgery, or within the first two weeks.

Dehydration is another common risk. Because swallowing is uncomfortable after surgery, there can be poor fluid intake. It is very important to drink as much fluid as possible during the post-operative period to avoid dehydration.

Nausea or vomiting can occur in some cases. It can be an effect of the anesthesia or taking the pain medication on an empty stomach. Please contact our office if you have three episodes of vomiting.

Pre-Operative Instructions

When the decision for surgery has been made, the office will try to determine a day that is most convenient for you. Once the surgery day is confirmed with the hospital, you will need to contact your family doctor and schedule a preoperative appointment within 30 days of your surgery day. You should obtain a History and Physical as well as any necessary blood work.

You will be contacted by the hospital on the business day before your procedure. You must arrive at the hospital two hours prior to your scheduled time. This allows the staff enough time to prepare you for your procedure.

The outcome of your surgery is as important to us as it is to you. In order to obtain the best results with your procedure, we would like you to follow a few simple rules.


Two Weeks Before Surgery
  • Do not drink alcohol for two weeks prior and two weeks after surgery.
  • Absolutely DO NOT take any aspirin, aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen (Advil®, Aleve®, Motrin, etc). The only “safe” pain medication that is permitted is Tylenol. Do not buy any over the counter pain medications without checking with the Doctor first.
  • DO NOT take Vitamin E. It is known to increase bleeding during surgery. If you are on any medications that affect bleeding such as coumadin, warfarin, or Plavix please notify the office as well as your primary physician to discuss important directions on how to stop the medication.


One Week Before Surgery

You will need to schedule an appointment at our office one week prior to your surgery. Please bring your History and Physical and all labs with you. At your appointment, you will be given prescriptions for an antibiotic and pain management. These will all be used following your surgery. Please fill these prescriptions before your surgery so you will have them ready for use when you return home after your surgery has been completed.

The Day Before Surgery

NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK AFTER MIDNIGHT. No water or gum chewing either. Your procedure will be cancelled if you do not follow these directions.

Post-Operative Instructions



After surgery, no strenuous activity or play for ten days. Avoid bending, lifting, or straining. You may still brush your teeth but no gargling or clearing your throat. An appointment should be made at our office seven days after surgery.



The most important aspect of your diet after surgery will be to avoid dehydration. You may begin with clear liquids and advance to a regular diet as tolerated. Try to avoid citric or pulpy juices.



Pain medication, as well as antibiotics, will be given at the time of the pre-operative appointment. Please note that pain can last anywhere from seven to fourteen days. Use only the medication prescribed. Do not use Advil or Motrin products for the first week of surgery. It is common to have an increase in pain after the first 5 days of surgery. Continue to take antibiotics and medication as directed.

Notify The Office:

  • If you have persistent bleeding
  • Are not able to eat or drink
  • Have three episodes of nausea and vomiting
  • Fever above 101° F

Remember to be patient during the healing process. If you have any question or concerns, please contact our office.