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

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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.

497 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy in Adults”

  1. I’m a 27 year old nurse, and I had my tonsils out 6 days ago. This has been the most pain I have ever been in. I’ve had 2 kids and I would rather go through labor and delivery all over again than do this again. I had no idea it would hurt this bad. I vomited yesterday and it felt like acid on my throat. No amount of pain meds has been able to take the pain away for me. They gave me 2 rounds of morphine in the ER yesterday and I still couldn’t swallow. So jealous of all these positive stories I keep hearing about! I really hope tomorrow is better!

  2. 30yr old female here. Had my tonsils out on April 30th, so I’m about to hit day 10. So far the 2nd days after surgery(May 2nd) was the hardest pain wise, although day 8 was also not pretty. My scabs came off and the bleeding was so bad that I thought I’d end up in the hospital. So far I can still not really eat anything and have only been able to take small bites of mashed potatoes, grits, ice cream, etc., but only 1-2 times a day and only 5-6 bites. Other than that it’s water or warm tea or broth. Bright side is I’ve lost 10lbs. But I really miss food haha
    I’m supposed to return to work on Monday the 14th, so we will see how I fair the rest of the week/weekend.

  3. I’m a 21 yo woman on day 5. I’ve read that day 5 is the best, while day 6 is the worst. We’ll see tomorrow. So far, so good. I’ve had a problem with the dosage of my pain meds and threw up on day 2. I then decided to lower the dosage and I’ve felt pretty good ever since. The first 3-4 days, I’ve slept about 16h every day. I can almost eat anything with only a little bit of pain after taking my meds. Mornings and when I wake up in the middle of the night are hard, as I have no morphine in me, but it only takes a few minutes to kick in. I’ve noticed the disgusting white/yellowish scabs on the back of my throat and where my tonsils used to be thinned a little and my uvula has drastically unswollened. This afternoon, I’ve found that my breath has become terrible, but I mean: terrible. I have nausea just breathing because of the taste of my scabs and I feel extra self-conscious when I’m around people. I brushed my teeth and my tongue as much as I could, I gargled with the special numbing mint stuff and even with salt and water: nothing works. I reaaaaaally hope they go away fast!

  4. I’m 57 and had mine out on April 27, 2018. I’m on day 4 and it hasn’t been as bad as I expected. The scabs are disgusting and I did have issues with the pain killers on day 2. I vomited 3 times. After the anti-nausea meds I seem to be doing better. I have major fatigue.

  5. Hi! I am 43 years old and i had my tonsillectomy yesterday. So far i have a bit of pain but i am struggling with swallowing anything. Water comes out of my nostrils and it seems like i am having acid reflux. I don’t know! I am trying to sleep but i wake up choking on my own saliva. Anyone with the same experience? Trying to keep hydrated.

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