Tonsillectomy | Adults

 Tonsillectomy as an Adult- 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


Tonsillectomy – Adult Recovery and Risks

Most studies indicate a two to four percent risk of delayed hemorrhage [severe bleeding]. Where adult tonsillectomies 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 adult

Adult Tonsillectomy

“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.

274 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy | Adults

  1. Thanks, Allie! That was helpful. It’s gotten a lot better in the last few days, too. I’m so glad to get this done and be toward the other side of all of it! I hope your healing continues to go well – blessings to you:)

  2. No, my scabs didn’t last that long. But one of the wounds developed a Rough, thickened edge that is still annoying at a full month out. It feels like when you get a popcorn skin caught in your throat. I have a call in to my doctor to have him look at it and see if he thinks it will disappear on its own or if it needs to be ablated.

  3. Hi all – this website has been a lifesaver!!! I am 46 years old and just had my tonsils removed August 3, so I’m on day 22. Things have gone very well overall (thanks largely to my awesome surgeon and to finding this site), but my surgeon just moved away and I have a question: At my two-week check last week, I still had a small bit of scab left on one tonsil bed (it felt like it and he confirmed it) and now a week later, it still feels like it’s there and catching food, like my tonsils used to. It’s rather sore. Has anyone had some portion of the scabs stay on for this long and if so, by about when should it fall off?

    Thanks again to this community – what a blessing!

    1. hi, im on day 17 and just saw my surgeon for a post op check. Neither of my scabs have fallen off or thinned at all. He said it is fine and that it because i have hardly been eating solids. Ive mostly been having liquids and soft moist food. The more friction with hard/crunchy food the faster the fall off. But its not a race!!! they all come off eventually. Hope this help! allie

  4. I want to thank you all for all the advice giving, I am still a little anxious about my surgery, it is scheduled for the 25th but I am more prepare thanks to you guys, I am on my way to buy a humidifier, Popsicles, more pillows so I can sleep prop up, baby food, soups and fish! God bless you all 😊

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