SLEEP APNEA SURGERY

ACTIVITY:  You should rest the day of the surgery to recover from the anesthesia.  Sleep on your back with your head raised on two pillows.  This will help decrease swelling and may make you more comfortable.  Cold packs (frozen peas in a zip-lock bag) held under the jaw may also help with the swelling and pain the first day. Separate the ice packs from the skin with a towel so that it won't stick to your skin. Avoid sleeping with the ice packs on.  Light activity is recommended the first 2-3 days after surgery.  Thereafter, you may slowly increase your activity as tolerated, but avoid lifting heavy objects or strenuous activity for 2 weeks.  Most patients return to work 7-10 days after surgery; when they are taking minimal amounts of pain medication.

DIET: The sore throat from this surgery will make eating difficult.  Popsicles, ice cream and Jell-O are a good start.  It is very important to stay hydrated.  Fluids are more critical than calories the first couple days.  Continually take sips of water or Gatorade when you are awake. Start with “baby” foods like soup, pudding and apple sauce. You may then slowly increase your diet to soft foods after the first day; such as ground meat, fish, pasta, boiled vegetables and canned foods.  Chew your food very well and drink plenty of fluids.  Avoid spicy, hard, dry and crunchy foods such as potato chips, French fries and raw vegetables.  These can hurt your throat and possibly cause some bleeding. Do not use straws and other sharp items when you eat and drink.

PAIN:  Throat surgery pain has been known to be very painful.  Every precaution has been taken to minimize this: gentle surgical technique, anti-inflammatory medication during surgery, cold packs, antibiotics and liquid pain medications.  Be sure to take the maximum-allowed dose of pain medication regularly the first day.  Thereafter, take the medicine as needed.  If the pain increases 3-5 days after surgery, you can come in for a steroid injection to greatly improve the inflammation and pain.  It is normal for some patients to have continued pain throughout the second week. PLEASE AVOID ASPIRIN, BUFFERIN, ADVIL, MOTRIN, ALEVE, IBUPROFEN OR ANY OTHER PAIN RELIEVER AS THEY ALL INCREASES RISKS OF BLEEDING.

Concerns: 

Scabs:  The white areas in the throat are normal (they are scabs over the healed areas). When these scabs come off on the fourth to eighth day after surgery, there may be a little spotting of blood.  This spotting is of no consequence. 

Bleeding:  Spotting and blood-tinged mucous is normal and not alarming.  If there is significant bleeding, notify your doctor and go immediately to the Emergency Room.

Ear Pain:  You may also experience some ear pain.  This is not an ear infection; but a (referred) pain transmitted from the throat and may occur when you swallow.


Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD

Ear, Nose & Throat specialist

Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD
San Francisco
Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist

Golden Gate ENT
Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD
San Francisco
Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist

Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD
San Francisco
Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist
415-682-8181