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.


In certain circumstances you may be prescribed antibiotics following surgery. Please take as instructed if advised. For most people following tonsil surgery they are unnecessary.


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 Dr Morrissey 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. It is part of the normal healing process. This usually settles after 3 weeks if not sooner.


If there is any sign of fresh bleeding from the nose or mouth greater than a teaspoon in volume (spitting or coughing up fresh blood), please present to the nearest Emergency Department for assessment.

It is important to stay within 1 hour of a Health service with an ENT surgeon for 7 days after surgery due to the risk of bleeding.  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

A follow-up phone call is usually made 4-6 weeks after surgery in most cases. Where an appointment is needed you will be advised by Dr Morrissey. If at any stage you wish to see Dr Morrissey his staff will be happy to arrange an appointment.

How to contact Dr Morrissey

For non-emergency issues please call 07 4646 4275 for further instructions.

Dr Morrissey shares ‘on-call’ arrangements with other ENT surgeons and one is usually available to answer questions. After Hours the "On Call" ENT Surgeon can be contacted via the Toowoomba Base Hospital on (07) 4616 6000.

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.