Special Instructions after Surgery

What to Eat and Drink

It is very important that you drink plenty of fluids, especially in the first few days. Water, apple juice, and milk are good choices. Other fluids such as orange, tomato, and grapefruit juices are not harmful but may cause throat irritation or burning due to their high acidity level. Also, very cold and/or very hot liquids as well as all types of alcohol should be avoided.

-For the first 10 days, eat soft foods as you are able to tolerate them. These include foods such as gelatin, custards, puddings, ice cream, mashed potatoes, cooked cereals, and eggs. Avoid dry hard foods such as popcorn, potato chips, tacos, ready-to eat cereals, raw vegetables, and spicy foods, as these types of foods may scratch or irritate your throat.

-Taking the suggested pain medications about 30 minutes before meals may make swallowing more comfortable.

Activity Level

Spend most of the first day or two after surgery resting in a chair or in bed. Take a short walk around the house every few hours. For the first week or longer, rest and sleep using two to three pillows to raise your head and upper body approximately 30 to 45 degrees off of the bed.

The best guideline is to take it easy and use your common sense! Walking is allowed but don’t overdo it. For at least two weeks or until your doctor approves, avoid the following activities:

  1. Strenuous exercise
  2. Bending
  3. Stooping over
  4. Stair climbing
  5. Sexual activity
  6. Lifting anything over 10 pounds
  7. Limit talking and stretching open mouth.


If you have questions about what or what not to do, make a list of these questions and bring it along on your next visit to Dr. Barrera or call the clinic.

Pain Control

A moderate to severe amount of throat discomfort is to be expected. An earache is also quite common following this type of surgery. Take acetaminophen products such as Tylenol (or generic brands) as directed or follow the label on the bottle. Do NOT take aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as Motrin, Ibuprofen, Nuprin, Advil, Anaprox, Clinbril, Feldene, Tolectin, or Indocin. These types of drugs may cause bleeding to occur. If Dr. Barrera gives you prescription medication, please read the label and follow the directions. If you have questions regarding medication, please ask your pharmacist or doctor.

There are other measures that you can take to reduce discomfort after surgery. Gentle gargling with lukewarm saltwater may soothe your throat. Make the saltwater mixture by mixing one level teaspoon of table salt with one quart of water. Sucking on anesthetic lozenges or cough drops may help minimize the urge to cough or clear your throat. If mandibular advancement or a chin implant was performed, ice placed on the chin will help reduce discomfort.

Bleeding and Fever

It is common for a small amount of blood to be mixed with your saliva. This should slowly change to clear saliva over the first few days following surgery. It is very important to keep the throat moist by drinking plenty of fluids. If the bleeding seems to increase, try gently gargling with ice water. Should the bleeding continue, increase, or become a flow of blood, please have someone drive you to our office or your closest Emergency Room if it is after hours.

Slight fever is also common for a few days following surgery. Take your temperature every four hours for 48 hours after the operation before each dose of pain medication. Fever is usually controlled by taking your pain medications as instructed and by increasing your fluid intake.

When to Call Your Doctor

Please call if any of the following occur:

  1. Fever over 101 degrees
  2. Pain that is not controlled by your medication
  3. Bleeding that increases or becomes a stream of blood.