June 14, 2024

More than half a million tonsillectomies, or tonsil removal procedures, are performed each year in the United States. If you and your family have consulted with a doctor about having your child’s tonsils removed, you’re probably wondering what happens afterward.

Maithilee Menezes, MD, a Washington University otolaryngologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, outlines five important things to know about your child’s tonsillectomy recovery.

  1. The procedure is straightforward, but recovery is measured in weeks.  
  2. Swallowing can be painful, which increases the risk of dehydration. 
  3. Toothbrushing is allowed. It will not cause any harm to the area where the tonsils were removed. 
  4. Refrain from physical activity. Sports and other activities can resume after 10-14 days. 
  5. Postoperative bleeding is rare. If bleeding does occur, it will be obvious. If you believe your child is experiencing postoperative bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. 

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