What Are the Smoking Risks After Tonsillectomy?

Smoking tobacco soon after having a tonsillectomy can increase the rate of postoperative bleeding in the throat, according to a study published in the journal Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. The overall bleeding rate of patients was 6.7 percent; smokers bled at a rate of 10.2 percent and non-smokers at 5.4 percent. People undergoing a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and a tonsillectomy saw more variation between hemhorraging in smokers and non-smokers.

Statistics with regards to bleeding and smoking after a tonsillectomy vary with the type of procedure and between the sexes. The aforementioned study explains patients with a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty alongside a tonsillectomy saw bleeding in 10.9 percent of smokers versus 3.3 percent of non-smokers. Men who underwent a tonsillectomy alone bled in 11.2 percent of cases versus 5.4 percent of women. The study examined 1,010 case files at Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state.

Patients are advised not to smoke or go into smoky areas after surgery while the throat is healing. Drugs.com states smoke can cause the throat to bleed heavily. This bleeding usually occurs four to eight days after surgery, but it can happen up to three weeks beyond the day of the tonsillectomy. Placing crushed ice in a towel around the neck can help stop bleeding once it starts.