Tonsillectomy in Adults

 Tonsillectomy in Adults- What to Expect

Tonsillectomy as an adult is quite different than tonsillectomy for children. The methods employed for tonsillectomy in adults and children are generally the same, (See Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Methods page), and the risks for adults are similar to the risks for children, (See The Tonsillectomy Risks


 Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery and Risks

Most studies indicate a two to four percent risk of delayed hemorrhage [severe bleeding]. Where tonsillectomy in adults differs most from tonsillectomy in children is in the recovery. Recovery from childhood tonsillectomy generally takes five to seven days. Recovery from  tonsillectomy in adults usually requires at least ten days and more often two weeks.

Before deciding to get an adult tonsillectomy, it’s important to choose a time frame in which you have the time and the support. Recovering over your favorite Holiday might be a good choice in terms of time, (eg holiday leave from work or school), but it may not be a time that people will be available to help you.
The pain associated with adult tonsillectomy recovery, by almost all accounts, is more intense than that experienced by children. Some theorize that children haven’t had as much time without pain as adults and thus their frame of reference is different than adult tonsillectomy patients. Others assume that children may be less able to articulate their discomfort. Having read the accounts of THOUSANDS of adult tonsillectomies in the forum,(See Tonsillectomy Forum page), I can say with some confidence that generally, the younger the patient, the easier the tonsillectomy recovery. There are of course exceptions. I’ve read from many middle aged adults who had a fairly smooth recovery. Perhaps they read up on this website and prepared well. Perhaps they had good genes.  In any case, many time an adult tonsillectomy recovery is better than the horror stories we hear about.

Tonsillectomy in Adults

Tonsillectomy in Adults

“If I could recommend one item to buy before tonsillectomy, it would be a humidifier. My readers know how important moist air is to a healing throat. I bought one of these years ago and still use it daily” -Greg

I’d like to take a moment here to make a suggestion. As you read through the people’s accounts in the various chat rooms, message boards, and adult tonsillectomy forums, consider this: People having a harder time, may be more prone to seek out information and share their experience in these venues. Adults experiencing milder tonsillectomy recoveries, might be less apt to be posting. I don’t want to drag Richard Nixon into my website, but this silent majority may be quietly recovering and you’ll never hear from them.
My advice is to research as much as you can, talk with your doctor, talk with your family and friends, and talk with your employer before scheduling your adult tonsillectomy. I wish you all the best.

I’ve put together a collection of items that I think would be helpful, if not essential, to making tonsillectomy recovery a little more pleasant. Check out the Tonsillectomy General Store.

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Kerrick m
May 18, 2016 12:48 pm

I am a 27 year old male, with a high pain tolerance, I even had kidney stones at 24.
This tonsilectamy that I had last Thursday. Oh my, I’m on day 6 today and I’m still in pain. I take acetometophene/codeine every 6 hours and a double dose of children’s liquid motrin every 3 hours. The pain on day 4 and 5 has been the worst. I have been in tears a few times. Waking up is when I experience the worst pain, and at some points of drinking. Makes my ears hurt so bad. I wondered the other day if I were better of with multiple cases of sore throat and fever from infected tonsils lol.
Prayer is what helps me the most. Without God I prolly would of jumped from the balcony yesterday. I encourage people to prep before the surgery and get someone that’s going to help you for about a week and half. I assume because I’m only on my 6th day.

May 13, 2016 12:00 am

I think it has been awful…

May 13, 2016 12:00 am

This tonsillectomy has been total and complete HELL. Please please make sure you have someone to take care of you. Get a dry erase board or pick up sign language. I am being so serious. Sleep as much as you can. Do not lift anyting over 5lbs and do not strain your neck. Get your netflix list loaded. I hate IV’s and that freaked me out. I had to get her to wrap my IV with decorate spongy tape. I woke up and was wheeled to this little half room thing. I was crying so hard and wheezing. I was moaning like you imagine an old person does when they wake up in the morning. My mom wasn’t even there when I woke up. I felt so so so sad. It was a very short procedure. The first day wasn’t bad. We left the hospital and we got a huge family meal from KFC. I ate so much ice cream.Popsicles helped, but there’s only so much one can do. Opening my mouth hurts Day 3 was absolutely terribbllllleeeee!! Days 4 and 5 were awful filled with excruciating pain. My surgeon allowed me to run out of liquid pain medicine and his nurse will NOT (AT ALL) get him to call us to call in something else. I’m writhing in pain most nights. Yawning is so scary. I began to hack up the scabs and it’s like mass amounts of phlegm. The base of my ears feel like they are going to implode. Maybe it’s from being a talker. I STRONGLY advise you take a tleast 10 days off. I’m a healthy 21 yo female and I have never been through this much pain in my life. Be thankful if you have health insurance and decent family members. I’ve had to take care of myself and it has left me crying many many nights. (Which hurts my throat even more) Today is barely day 7 and the pain is easing off. It really has to because I need to return to work so I can begin to pay these things off. I really don’t know what to do. I have had fever symptoms, I don’t have much to look forward to. No one has taken any time to take care of me. Please also thank those who consider you and what you are going through. i am just being real here.