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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312 Comments on "Tonsillectomy in Adults"

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April 17, 2016 9:44 pm

In response to April!
Im 22y/o had my op 5 days ago and i felt the exact same as you! I had read for weeks all these horror story’s which cover the net on how painful the recovery is ! I stocked up on everything anyone had suggested might help, cancelled my diary for 3 weeks and even advised people i wouldn’t be able to pick up the phone ! My first 3 days were pain level 3, i kept waiting for things to get really painful , but it stayed pretty constant. Iv been eating normal solid food , sleeping 10 hours in a row and been able to go on short walks ! I find as long as i keep on top of my pain meds i can pretty much carry out day to day activities , although im not going to push it !! Today’s my fifth day and i have had the most pain in the last 12 hours … I did read this is the stage where the membrane loosens off the tonsil beds so i was expecting a change about now but pain level is no more than 4, and when pain killers peak it goes right back down to a 1/2…. Everyone is different but i hope people who are due to get it done can find comfort in my experience ! I wish i had read a post like mine before hand !!!

April 15, 2016 8:22 am

In response to gregtooke…I would allow coconut oil to melt in the back of my throat. It would soothe and help speed up recovery. And lots of water. If youre able to swallow oatmeal then add the oil to oatmeal. It’s been 2 years now but I remember that’s what help me alot.b

April 15, 2016 4:07 am

I’m so happy I’ve found something from 2016 as every other post I find seems to be from years ago! I am 19 years old and I had my tonsillectomy 3 days ago now and I can honestly say my pain level has been about 1-2 near enough the whole time. I keep reading all the horrific experiences people are having and keep thinking I must have it to come? I can’t be this lucky surely? I took all the precautions that people have told me: I bought a humidifier, stocked up on lots of ice, ice packs, ice pops, icecream etc. Well first of all, after about 5 minutes of turning my humidifier on I can’t breathe, and my uvula got a drip of water on it that wouldn’t go away for ages and was so uncomfortable so I’ve not used it again once and I’ve been sleeping perfectly fine! Got about 8/9 hours sleep both nights. I have only been taking paracetamol – every 4 hours, and ibruprofen- only when I eat something maybe 3 times a day and this is fine. This morning my pain was about a level 3 so I made myself a co-codamol dissolvable tablet drink and slowly sipped on that and I think I’m having a bad reaction to it because I feel really spacey and sickly and everything’s abit blurry. I think I’ll just stick to standard paracetamol from now on. Also I haven’t used an ice pack on my neck once as I’ve been too cold!! I’ve managed to eat normal, had pasta and meatballs lastnight and 3 pieces of garlic bread! The worst part so far has been the day of the op. Being put under anestetic was the worst feeling I’ve had in my life. And after the op I threw up everywhere as I could tell my body was rejecting it. It also hurts when I’m coughing up phlegm. I’m just worried about having more pain when my scabs come off and hope they come off soonish as I have to go backy to university in 10 days as I’ve already missed so much important work! But yeah, I wanted to make this post for those of you that are reading all the horror story’s and s***ing yourself before like i did, everyone is clearly different and who knows I may have the worst yet to come, but so far it’s not as bad as everyone makes out.

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