Because a person swallows 500 to 1,000 times per day, recovering from throat surgery can be difficult when each swallow causes pain. Several postoperative symptoms may occur, including:
- swallowing problems
- throat pain (up to two weeks post-surgery)
- ear pain
We treat throat pain aggressively with both a liquid pain medicine (Decadron and Marcaine) and a liquid antibiotic (Amoxacillin or Zithromax). Studies have shown that the antibiotic can lessen the bacterial overgrowth, which both lessens the pain and improves the breath. Motrin is often extremely helpful and does not appear to increase bleeding. Toradol has been used by some, however this may increase the risk of bleeding. Steroids can also be considered. Magic mouth rinse with topical anesthetics or numbing throat sprays, such as Chloraseptic, can be temporarily helpful.
Ear pain, which is referred from the tonsils, is common and does not indicate an ear infection. With all the swelling and healing, the throat often looks “terrible”. It is not unusual to have white patches as the healing progresses. We generally advise parents not to bother looking into the throat for a couple of weeks, because it will heal and return to normal.
Occasionally, bleeding may occur after surgery, but this is rare. The highest risk period is a week to ten days following the surgery. Blood-streaked saliva is normal and any significant bleeding would appear as bright red blood coming from the mouth. Swallowing blood will invariably lead to vomiting. If any significant bleeding occurs, notify your surgeon immediately.
Although we make no diet restrictions after surgery, we generally recommend not pushing food at all. As long as your child is drinking anything at all and not having diarrhea or vomiting, he or she will likely recover well. Although adults should avoid lifting or strenuous activity following surgery, children will do what they want to and we do not try to limit them.
During recovery, we recommend resting in a recliner and sucking on ice.
Follow-up appointments are tailored to each patient. We generally schedule patients back in three weeks to assess their progress. We are always available see you if you have are any concerns.