What can go wrong after tonsil surgery?

Unmanageable pain
Whilst most patients can manage with regular painkillers after surgery, some patients may have more difficulty and this then leads to a slow return to oral intake which in turn worsens the pain.  In this situation it is sometime best to be readmitted to the hospital for rehydration with intravenous fluids for 24-48 hours.

Bleeding after surgery
The surgery itself is relatively bloodless.  However, bleeding after surgery can occur in about 3- 5% of patients and usually happens around day 5 - 7.

We would recommend that you sleep in the same room as your child in case this happens during the night. Signs of bleeding are either obvious bleeding which is visible or you may hear a wet gurgling sound if your child is asleep. If this is the case have a look in their mouth to check if there is any bleeding.

Why does it happen?

 It is believed that poor oral intake leading to dehydration is a factor.  Sometimes as the tonsil bed heals it can form granulation tissue which can easily bleed. Should the bleeding be persistent then Immediate attendance to your nearest accident and emergency department is essential if this occurs or if there is a lot of bleeding call for an ambulance.

Occasionally there may be a need to return to the operating theatre to stop the bleeding. It is for this reason that there should be constant supervision and no travel on long journeys after surgery for at least 6 weeks.