What can I expect after the operation?

You may experience pain in your throat after surgery and therefore it’s important to follow the prescription and take painkillers regularly. It’s normal for the pain to increase 4-7 days after the operation and then subside. This is most common when the whole tonsils are removed (tonsillectomy).

The pain is normally less pronounced if only parts of the tonsils have been removed.

The pain is most often worse in the morning due to the fact that it’s been a long time since the last painkiller was taken. At night, it’s nice to sleep with a slightly higher support under the head than normal. It reduces the swelling of the mucous membrane in the area where the operation was performed, which can help relieve the pain.

The tongue may feel uncomfortable for the first few days after the operation. This is due to the fact that the tongue has been pressed down with a special instrument during the operation (in order to facilitate access to the tonsils). The discomfort is alleviated by you moving your tongue and thus it’s good to eat and drink. The ears may ache without there being an ear infection. Ear ache is relieved by the painkillers that you take for your throat,but chewing gum can also sometimes relieve the pain.

Pain relief

After the operation, it’s very important to take painkillers. These must be taken at regular times in order to have the best effect. Plan your mealtimes and eat approximately 30-60 minutes after taking the painkillers because the pain relief is then at its best. Anti-inflammatory analgesics (for example Ipren, Diklofenak) and paracetamol (for example Alvedon, Panodil, Curadon) is to be taken as basic pain relief. Supplementary medicine is prescribed by the doctor. Make sure to plan ahead and purchase painkillers so that you’re prepared when you return home after the operation. You can buy paracetamol and anti-inflammatory analgesics without prescription from the chemist/drugstore and in many shops.


Nausea and vomiting are common during the first evening after the operation. There may often be some old blood in the vomit (it looks dark), as blood often runs down into the stomach during the operation. The sickness usually disappears within a day after the operation.

Food & drink

It’s important that you start to eat and drink normally. Dryness in the throat increases the pain experienced. Drink plenty of liquid (preferably not too hot), avoid sour juices that often sting. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva and relieves pain as well as helps you feel refreshed. Liquid and soft food can already be eaten the day of the operation, but hot food and food that can scrape the throat (for example crisp bread and hard apples) can be good to avoid during the first few days. Avoid alcohol and very spicy food.


Most hospitals don’t have a routine concerning planned follow-up visits after the surgery. In the event of any complications (bleeding, persistent pain, high temperature), please see under the tab Important. However, all tonsil operations are monitored in Sweden via the Quality Registry for Tonsil Surgery. Read more under the tab In-depth. The Quality Registry helps us to improve health care.

You’ll receive two questionnaires, the first after thirty days and the second after six months. The questionnaire received thirty days after the operation lets us know about any complications experienced after the operation. The second questionnaire, received after six months, contains a couple of questions about the presence of any discomfort after the tonsil operation, which we are also interested to find out about.

It’s of great importance to receive your answers, even if you haven’t experienced any discomfort. It’s important that you answer both questionnaires!