Tonsillectomy – Adult

Return to normal activities 

It takes 10-14 days for most people to fully recover. You will need to stay home from work or school for at least 10 days following surgery.

General activities can be resumed when you feel up to it. Please avoid active sports, exercise and heavy lifting for 2 weeks.

Pain relief

You will experience some throat pain and discomfort for up to 2 weeks following surgery.  Ear pain, jaw pain and neck pain may also occur. This can be improved with pain relief but may not entirely disappear. During this time, it is recommended you take some regular pain relief.


Please avoid the use of Ibuprofen (Nurofen) following surgery unless other measures are insufficient. While it can aid pain relief, it is also associated with a slight increase in the bleeding risk and hence is best avoided if possible.

Non-Medication Pain Relief

There is some evidence that the following measures may aid in pain relief after tonsil surgery:

Please seek advice if pain relief measures are inadequate.


There are no restrictions on diet. You should drink as much as needed to avoid dehydration. Aim to maintain at least a 1.5 litre water intake daily while recovering.

Please contact the rooms if you are not drinking or eating enough, you may need to be re-admitted to hospital for intravenous fluids.


It is common to have a mild fever for the first 24hrs after the operation.  Please call Dr Morrissey’s rooms if there is a persistent fever greater than 38.5°C.

Bad Breath 

Bad breath is expected following removal of tonsils and even more so if the adenoids are removed.  This usually settles after 3 weeks.


If there is any sign of bleeding (spitting or coughing up fresh blood), then please present to the nearest Emergency Department for assessment.

If you do not live within 30 minutes of a major hospital then you may need to relocate for the 14 days following surgery. While extremely rare, a severe post-tonsillectomy bleed can be a life-threatening event and will require an adequately staffed hospital to address. 

Follow Up appointment 

Please make an appointment 4 weeks after surgery. 

How to contact Dr Morrissey 

For non-emergency issues please call (07) 4632 3179 for further instructions.  

Dr Morrissey shares ‘on-call’ arrangements with other ENT surgeons and one is usually available to answer questions.

Should your concerns not be addressed via a phone call please present to your nearest Emergency Department. 

In the event of an Emergency call 000 or attend the nearest Emergency Department.