This is an update of a Cochrane Review first published in The Cochrane Library in Issue 1, 2010.
Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of lymphoid tissue, the palatine tonsil, which is located at the back of the throat. It is still commonly performed for patients who have recurrent bouts of acute tonsillitis. Although tonsillectomy is considered a fairly minor procedure, pain and bleeding are two of the most common complications; either may delay recovery and can on occasion lead to hospital readmission. Postoperative tonsillectomy medication should provide an adequate reduction in morbidity while minimising side effects, therefore topical agents would seem to be an ideal, safe option. A number of mouthwashes and topical sprays are available which offer pain relief or can help to reduce bleeding in the immediate postoperative period.