A tonsillectomy, or the surgical removal of the tonsils, was performed much more commonly a few years back than it is now. In fact, a few episodes of inflammation or infection of the tonsils usually meant that doctors would advise a surgical removal of the tonsils. Now, however the most common cause for this advice is obstruction to breathing during sleep. In rare cases, where severe tonsillitis continues to recur frequently or does not respond adequately to non surgical treatment, a tonsillectomy may be advised.
Risks Associated With A Tonsillectomy
The tonsillectomy procedure is quite safe, however there are some risks associated with it, as with any surgical procedure. These include an uncontrolled amount of bleeding, injury to vital structures due to operator error, an adverse reaction to the anesthetic agents used and post operative swelling and infection.
Recovery After Tonsillectomy
The one thing that you can almost always expect after a tonsillectomy is performed is pain. This will persist until the entire healing has taken place. The time taken for this varies, however a week to ten days is the normal expected duration of healing.
Immediately after the surgery has been performed, the patient is taken to a recovery room and monitored until the effects of anesthesia have worn off. The procedure is carried out as an out-patient procedure, and so the patient will usually be discharged and free to go home once the recovery is complete.
Some pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed after the surgery. It is important to follow instructions exactly when it comes to the dosage and time span of the antibiotics required to be taken.
Since eating and drinking can become a bit of an issue post surgery, it is important for patients to keep on taking a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration and to keep getting proper nutrition. Patients find that cold non-aerated fluids are easier on their throats than others.
While it may be easier to drink than it is to eat, patients will eventually have to buckle down and eat something or the other! Bland, non spicy food that is soft in texture is ideal. Look for partly solid food like broths and soups to eat while the initial healing period is going on. The first couple of days are usually the toughest, after which some more solid food options will start becoming bearable.
Alcohol should be avoided after the first couple of days after surgery and while the patient is on pain medication and antibiotics. There may be an adverse reaction or a lapse in judgment that can lead to unwanted complications. Strictly speaking though, if the medication does not react with alcohol, then a small glass of wine will not cause any trouble.
The most important thing after a tonsillectomy is to take adequate rest. No physically demanding activities like aerobics, yoga or lifting weights should be done for the first week or two after surgery. It is important that the site of surgery heal uneventfully so that post operative complications are minimized as is the total recovery time.
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