Questions: Why Does My Throat Hurt After Surgery?

What To Do If Your Throat Hurts After Surgery

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Joos Mind/Stone

Question: I just had surgery and my throat hurts, should I be concerned?


Your throat probably hurts after surgery for one of two reasons.

First, you may be dehydrated since you weren't allowed to eat or drink before surgery and you are allowed minimal food and fluids after surgery.

Second, during general anesthesia, an endotracheal tube is put into your mouth and down your throat, a process called intubation.This tube is then attached to the ventilator to help you breathe during surgery.

The tube can be irritating to the throat, tongue, and vocal cords. The process of having the breathing tube inserted can be irritating to the throat, and having the tube remain in place can cause further irritation in the mouth and throat. After the tube is removed, patients often find that their mouth, throat and airway are irritated and may experience burning and other symptoms.

What do I do about my sore throat?

Normal sore throat care including minimal speaking, drinking lots of fluids and over-the-counter remedies should do the trick within a few days. Numbing lozenges are particularly effective for this type of irritation, as the medication coats and protects the throat while numbing the area. Sucking on candy, particularly citrus flavors like lemon, can help keep the area more lubricated to decrease pain.

If your sore throat persists more than a week, consider consulting your surgeon or another doctor.

 If you feel that your voice has been affected, contact your surgeon. Permanent throat or vocal cord injury is rare, but it is one of the risks of anesthesia.


Patient Education FAQ, American Society of Anesthesiologists.

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