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Tonsillectomy

Welcome

At Mater Health Services we understand that being in hospital can be a very stressful experience. This booklet aims to alleviate some of your concerns in keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients’ needs. It explains briefly the events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect when you are discharged from the hospital.

It is, however, only a guideline as each person may require differing treatments.

If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse. Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated embers of this team will visit you during your stay and are available at your request to discuss any anxieties or problems that you may have.

Tonsillectomy surgery

Expected length of hospital stay

The day following your surgery you will be transferred anytime from 7 am to the Transit Lounge then discharged at the pre-arranged time.

After your operation

  • You will stay in the recovery room within the theatre suite after the operation while you waken from the anaesthetic. You will be transferred on your bed to your room in the Day Procedure Unit.
  • Your nurse will take frequent observations of your vital signs (e.g. pulse) and observe for bleeding or excessive swallowing.
  • Immediately following your surgery, you will be resting in bed with your head elevated.

foot

The following exercises help prevent complications suchas chest infections and blood clots in your legs. You should do these every hour that you are awake while resting in bed.

Breathing exercises: take five long and slow deep breaths. Each breath should be deeper than the previous breath. Think about getting the air to the very bottom of your lungs.

Circulation exercises: firmly move your ankles up and down to stretch and contract your calf muscles.

  • When you feel well enough you will be assisted to get out of bed.
  • About four hours after you return to the ward, your nurse will assist you to have a wash.
  • You may have small amounts of water or ice to suck, then progress from cold fluids to soft foods as tolerated.
  • If you have pain or nausea, please tell your nurse as there are medications which can be given to relieve this. Good analgesia is important. When you have pain, you are less likely to breath deeply and more likely to withhold coughing and movement.
  • The drip (IV) is necessary to maintain your fluid intake. This will be removed when you are tolerating adequate amounts of oral fluids.

In preparation of going home

  • Your nurse will discuss your follow-up appointment and any discharge arrangements that have been made with you.
  • Discharge information will be given to you and your nurse will discuss this with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
  • A full assessment will be made prior to transferring you to the Transit Lounge in preparation for discharge to ascertain your condition is safe for you to go home. Those picking you up will find the Transit Lounge:
    • on level 4 Mater Hospital Brisbane
    • just inside the ambulance entrance
    • opposite the waiting area for the Emergency Department.
  • It is still recommended to perform deep breathing, coughing and leg exercises while you are resting in bed.
  • You will recommence your normal medications. Please tell the nursing staff if you have any pain so that they may give you medication to help relieve it.
  • You are encouraged to be independent with your showering and walking.
  • You may have soft food and cold fluids as desired.
  • Your observations (temperature, pulse) will be checked before you are discharged along with assessing any wound bleeding.

Discharge advice following tonsillectomy surgery

What to expect

  • Expect some discomfort, especially upon swallowing. You can take simple pain relief for this eg Paracetamol; however do not take any more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period.
  • Blood stained mucous in the mouth and throat is normal for the first two or three days. It is not uncommon to actually vomit some blood which has been swallowed. Delayed haemorrhage may occur up to two weeks after surgery so make sure you report any excess bleeding to your doctor.

What to do

  • Clean your teeth after each meal and gently rinse your mouth frequently.
  • Dehydration is the biggest enemy of the recovery period. It will increase the pain, increase the risk of bleeding or infection and delay the healing. Dehydration usually happens because the pain of swallowing keeps you from drinking enough liquids. It is a good plan to drink and eat about 20 minutes after taking your pain relief medication.
  • Make sure you take your medications as ordered by your doctor—both analgesia and antibiotics.
  • Chewing gum may help to produce saliva and alleviate an uncomfortable dry mouth or throat.
  • Keep drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Diet—if possible try to avoid liquids containing red dye for the first 24 hours after surgery so the red colour is not confused with any bleeding. Avoid citrus drinks or soda because of the acid content. Avoid milk and milk products for the first few days as these tend to increase mucous production in the nose and throat. On the secondor third day you may have lukewarm, soft foods such as noodles, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, cooked cereal, soups, pancakes. Avoid hard crusts and all hard crunchy foods such as chips, bacon, popcorn, nuts. No HOT liquids or spicy foods for two weeks after surgery.

What to avoid

  • over exertion
  • harsh coughing or clearing
  • vigorous nose blowing—breathe through your nose
  • hard crunchy food—they will increase the risk of bleeding.

Contacts

Please contact either your General Practitioner (GP); the Mater Hospital Brisbane Procedure Unit on 07 3163 8496; or the Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department on telephone 07 3163 8111, IMMEDIATELY if you experience any of the following after your procedure:

  • vomiting large amounts of blood
  • spitting bright blood at frequent intervals
  • increase pulse rate or temperature
  • restlessness and excessive unrelieved pain.

Mater Hospital Brisbane

Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane Q 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111

South Brisbane campus

Acknowledgements

Staff of Mater Hospital Brisbane, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Q 4101

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420036
Last modified 16/11/2015.
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