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Anesthesia

Lump in throat after anesthesia

11/14/2007

Question:

I had surgery in July and after the anesthesia they said my throat would be dry and sore for a couple of days and that it was normal. It is now November and my throat is still dry and it feels like there is a bump or flap in my throat that makes it hard to swallow. I had called the anesthesiologist about a week after to tell him my symptoms and he said it was nothing that he would`ve done, and had me go to my family doctor to get checked. I did and they said my throat looked red and that I had a infection and gave me an antibiotic. The feeling has never gone away and I get headaches a lot now too because of the dryness. I drink lots of water but it stays dry. It does not hurt a lot, but it is a nuisance. What could be causing this? I was thinking it was from the tube they inserted in my throat for anesthesia during my surgery. Can this be a complication from that?

Answer:

Sore throat after anesthesia is quite common. In some cases it is due to the intubation - that is the insertion of a plastic breathing tube or airway. The gases that are breathed are pretty dry so that may also contribute to the soreness. These symptoms usually go away within a couple of days.

Symptoms that persist for 4 months, as yours have done, suggest that something else is going on. Dry mouth can be caused by salivary gland disorders, of which there are several causes, as well as by medications. The bump or flap in your throat could be just that, or perhaps it is related the dryness. Whether there is something abnormal in your throat, and what it is, can only be determined by an examination. I suggest you be seen by an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist who can perform such an examination. Salivary gland problems are also in the territory of the ENT specialists.

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Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University