A typical tonsillectomy takes between 30 to 45 minutes, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery. The surgery is done under general anesthesia, and the patient is usually kept at the hospital for several hours for observation before being released.
Complications such as bleeding, low oxygen saturation and vomiting can cause a tonsillectomy patient's stay to last overnight, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery. Recovery from the surgery typically takes between five and seven days. During this time of recovery, it is important for the patient to drink plenty of fluids. There are usually no dietary restrictions placed on patients following surgery, though a soft diet is often recommended. Pain medicine such as acetaminophen with hydrocodone may be prescribed to help ease the pain associated with swallowing during recovery.
As the patient begins to return to a normal diet and the need for pain medicine during eating and drinking subsides, activity may be slowly increased. During this time, it is normal to see very small specks of blood in the nose or saliva. However, if bright red bleeding occurs, the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery recommends contacting a doctor immediately or heading to the emergency room.