Post-tonsillectomy bleeds are divided into two categories:

Primary haemorrhage

  • Occurs within the first 24 hours of the procedure.

Secondary haemorrhage

  • Occurs more than 24 hours after the procedure.
  • Most commonly seen between days five and ten post-op, when the fibrin clot sloughs off.

Post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage occurs in 5% of patients. 95% of patients recover uneventfully. Approximately 1% of patients will require a return trip to theatre.

Learning bite

Secondary haemorrhage most commonly occurs five to ten days after tonsillectomy.

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