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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319 Comments on "Tonsillectomy in Adults"

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paula n
July 29, 2016 8:01 pm

I am a 57 year old woman who has had 4 children, and many different surgery’s. I knew this was going to be difficult, but this experience has made me want to journal this, and I don’t normally do this. This is by far been one of the worst experiences I have ever been through for recouping from surgery. After reading some of the post below, First, make sure you have someone to take care of you, I was very luck to have my mother (75) and my husband(70) here for me during this time

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…