Tonsillectomy in Adults

 Tonsillectomy 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 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 Adult

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.

472 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy in Adults”

  1. Im atill in revovery from my tonsilectomy will be hitting 3 wks come Tuesday, this is due to getting a infection within the 1st week of having them removed, i experienced really bad pain but seeing as im a 46yrs old woman was informed the older u are tge more.painful how truse thus is i dont know, all i can offer for advise is don’t expect speedy recovery and make sure u do some homework before your op ..most painful t8mes 1st thing in the morning and last thing at night painful to swollow . On the positive note pleased i f8nally had it done no more issues is what im looking forward to after over 15 20 yrs of tosulitis quincys dore throats ect .

  2. I am 40years old and finally removed my tonsils after years of sore throats and lengthy colds. I was terrified of the procedure, but I was one of the lucky ones. I ate crushed ice and frozen sorbet and kept ice packs on my throat/ neck constantly. I gargled often with salt water and sometimes saltwater with a couple drops of listerine (breath is so bad with scabs). I also had a humidifier on full blast. I really think this made a difference. Days:
    1-3: sore throat, but able to eat scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes and soft food. Liquid Tylenol only.
    4-5: slightly worse, eggs and ice water for food. Had to start the real pain meds.
    6-7: very sore, jello and ice water only. Took painkillers every 4hrs.
    8-10: started back to work. Painkillers am and bed time, but otherwise Tylenol. Back to eggs and chicken noodle soup. Only had energy for work and then to bed.
    11-14: careful with food, but feeling much better. Tylenol only. Scabs rubbing off.
    15-17: feeling really good. No meds. Gargling constantly to try to get the scabs to rub off and get breath back to normal. Uvula back to normal size.
    Overall, 2 weeks of downtime, but so happy to have this behind me.
    Best of luck to all of you. Not easy, but manageable. Keep throat cold and wet and stay on top of pain meds.

Your Thoughts?