Post-Op Instructions - Mouth

Bleeding: a small amount of blood after surgery on the mouth or tonsils is usually not serious - this can occur immediately after surgery or about a week or so later. If bleeding is persistent and more than a teaspoonful, or of your child is coughing or vomiting up blood, go to the nearest emergency room (that has ENT coverage - if nothing close then just go to the nearest ER). Sometimes bleeding needs to be controlled in the operating room.

Pain: a sore throat/mouth is to be expected after surgery (especially after a tonsillectomy). Tylenol and/or Motrin is usually enough though after a tonsillectomy prescription pain medication is usually given. Always use as directed. Very important though is to maintain hydration - this helps with pain control (keeps the mouth moist). Do NOT give aspirin for pain (this can cause bleeding). Ear pain and neck pain after surgery on the mouth/throat is very common - this is called referred pain from the mouth.

Fever: a low grade fever is to be expected. If you child is acting sick and the temperature is 102 or higher - recommend seeing your pediatrician (or ER if after hours) as their may be something else going on.

Diet: Adequate fluid intake is VERY important (even though it might hurt to swallow). Fluids help reduce pain, fever, risk of bleeding, and promotes healing. Any kind of fluid (nonalcoholic obviously) is OK though carbonated drinks and orange juice might sting (acidic). Your child should urinate a minimum of twice a day. If you notice dehydration: very little urination, lack of tears, dry skin - then you might consider going to the ER for IV fluids and possible admission. 

Breath: expect very bad breath - healing tissue in the mouth stinks. Hydration helps this but one should still expect yucky breath.

Vomiting: some vomiting after surgery is not unsual, try waiting about 30 minutes and then give a small amount of clear liquids. More liquids and soft foods can be given once the nausea improves. If repeated vomiting is occuring - call the office. 

Activity: After a tonsillectomy it is recommended to avoid a strenuous activity for about 2 weeks. Returning to school can occur when no longer on narcotic pain medication. During the first week kids usually limit their own activity. Getting out of bed is helpful though. For minor oral cavity procedures avoid strenuous activity for about a week. 

Snoring: after surgery for tonsils (and/or adenoids) there is going to be some snoring (and it can be loud) - this should gradually improve over about 2 weeks.

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