Tonsillectomy Scabs- How and when do they fall off?

Regardless of the tonsillectomy method used, some sort of scab is going to form over the the area from which your tonsils have been cut, coblated, and/or cauterized.

It’s normal. It is normal.  People often become obsessed with the appearance of the tonsil beds as they recover from tonsillectomy.  Almost like a recently lost tooth, it can be hard to resist the temptation to explore the new landscape.  This too is normal.  I strongly advise against molesting the area with foreign objects.   Those scabs will fall off on their own.  Touching, poking, or scraping on them increases the risk of hemorrhage and you don’t want that.

Tonsillectomy Scabs Fall Off
Tonsillectomy Scabs Fall Off around day 7 or 8

Many Otoraryngologists, or ear, nose and throat, (ENT) specialists recommend eating a somewhat rough diet, (think dry toast), to keep the affected area clear of excessive tonsillectomy scab build-up.  This advice is most often given in the United Kingdom and Australia. Most ENT’s in the United States advise a soft diet.

Which ever route you take, there will likely be formation of tissue that covers the tonsil beds.  I recommend following the advice I give in other pages of this site; keep the throat moist, avoid sharp foods, stay hydrated, take pain medications on schedule, sleep upright if possible, and leave those tonsillectomy scabs alone.  They will normally begin to slough of at about day seven or eight of your recovery.

What Happens When Tonsillectomy Scabs Fall Off

You may feel a sharp pain occasionally as the tonsillectomy scabs fall off. This is common. This is normal. There is a slight increase in risk of bleeding while tonsillectomy scabs fall off. If you do have some bleeding, try gargling with ice cold water. This will usually stop the bleeding. If this doesn’t work, and bleeding becomes profuse, call 911 or get to a hospital immediately. Don’t panic. In there relatively rare cases, health care professionals have great success at stopping the bleed.

Daily Photos of Throat After Tonsillectomy. Caution: Scabs

423 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy Scabs Fall Off

  1. Hi everyone! I’m a 30 year old female and did the surgery may 16th (a week ago). This pain is absolutely out of this world and makes me so miserable. The doctor prescribed me Tylenol #3 and that barely works. I found out maybe 5 days in that ibuprofen 400mg alternating with Tylenol 1000mg works WAY better! I don’t know if it has anything to do with the ibuprofen reducing swelling.
    I’ve been able to have ice chips, water, mashed potatoes, Mac n cheese and scrambled eggs. I tried to do soft dinner rolls but that was a mess as it would get stuck in my mouth. I found that using hot packs for the ear/jaw pain helps a bit. Warm showers help me as well. Sleep has been miserable as I wake up every hour or 2 hours.
    The scabs are starting to fall off and it has me choking every few minutes. Yawning feels like I am being choked and losing oxygen. I had a septoplasty as well with my tonsillectomy so my nose is stuffed at the moment and I’m not sure if that’s the reason why it feels like i can’t breathe. I hope this gets better because I feel absolutely miserable

  2. Hi!! I’m Savannah, age 16. I got my tonsils out on May 12, 2017. I. Hate. It. So. Much. I’ve had an amazing recovery so far, with minimal nausea and easy to manage pain. Granted, I’ve been on Oxycodone the whole time. I was able to eat solid foods instantly as long as I completely chewed them and swallowed with water. I’ve slept well and the worst pain was in the morning, but 30 minutes after I took a pain pill I was fine. But today (day 5) it’s all gone down hill. I woke up this morning in the worst pain I’ve had so far. It felt like my tongue was being ripped out and my ears were going to explode. In a panic, I took two Tylenol, two ibuprofen AND an oxycodone. I started shaking and I felt like I was going to throw up. Luckily, my mom is a nurse and she knew I would be fine. I was able to take a pill for nausea and two Benadryl, which calmed me down within 20 minutes. Since then, I’ve been very irritable/angry. I’ve started to get sharp tings in my throat which send me into coughing fits. I think they’re from scabs coming off, but I’m not sure. Right now, it’s 2:19 am and I woke up because of one of those coughing fits. I’m ready for this to end so I can be better!! I’m going crazy!!!

  3. I’m Brenna and I’m 20. WHEN DOES IT GET BETTER?! I got my tonsils out one week ago from today.. I have felt better today even without being on my liquid hydro and just being on an Advil/Tylenol rotation but I just want a time line to when I might be back to my normal self eating yummy food and not laying around all day. I didn’t sleep at allllll last night because I was so anxious about waking up and being in terrible shaking pain which had happened the mornings previous. That was not good because today I have just been yawning all day and hurting the back of my throat. Someone please just tell me when they were back to feeling normal 😭

    1. I’m 20 too and had my tonsils out May 8th and I feel this so hard!!! I just want to be healed already!!!

    2. OH MY LORD! This is the worst thing in the world. I would not wish this on people I hate. My ENT said that it would be less painful than removing wisdom teeth, which I had done last summer and had no problem with, so I thought it’d be fine. I have a normally high pain tolerance, but this is by far the worst thing I have ever been through in my 19 years. If I knew then, how I would feel now, I would not have done it.

      I’d also like to know when people were back to feeling normal. Like after the scabs come off does the new, raw skin still hurt? When does that pain go away?

      I got mine out on May 9th, so a week ago today. I have a follow-up appointment tomorrow. The scabs are gross and starting to fall off and sometimes they bleed, but it usually doesn’t last too long. They taste and feel gross. I started out trying to eat applesauce and chicken noodle soup, but was so nauseous for the first 5 days that now I can’t even look at either of them. The past two days, I’ve been living on soft pretzels, Nutri-Grain bars, mac and cheese, and SmartOnes fettuccine. I’m trying to keep eating but it hurts so badly, drinking anything is literally fire, and swallowing hurts like a …….

      I had liquid codeine, but stopped taking that around day 4 because it gave me the worst headache, now I take 3 acetaminophen every 4ish hours and then take amoxicillin 3 times a day to prevent infection.

      I sleep for maybe 2 hours at a time, which also makes me tired and causes me to yawn the next day which is equivalent to little imps sawing at my throat.

      Does chewing gum really help?
      Does anyone have any other suggestions?

      At this point, I think I’d rather have my foot continuously run over by a semi-truck. Or maybe be stranded and cut off my arm like in 127 Hours, my sincerest apologies for being overly dramatic.

      1. @Lizzie I’m 42 and I Had my tonsils taker n out May 8th..the 1st few days were rough bcuz I didn’t have the proper meds…i was then given hydrocodone/Acetaminophen which is now my new best friend… the meds keep me feeling good…on day #2 I ate soft baked fish.. the next broiled chicken then crab legs…i don’t even go to the mirror to look at my wound so I know it won’t bother me….it doesn’t feel like I had surgery….

      2. I am 27 and had mine out the 11th I just found my new best friend SORE THROAT SPRAY!! I was scared thinking it would doesn’t I’ve been using it non stop!. My scabs are coming off and even swallowing my saliva hurts feels like I’m swallowing glass. I have spots of blood every where and I’m so ready to eat some food!!

        1. Thank you so much! I wish I knew that earlier! I’m finally starting to feel better! The scabs falling off is gross and I can definitely relate to the feeling of swallowing glass!

          To anyone new who is just reading this, IT GETS BETTER! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s too early for me to say for certain whether or not the surgery was worth it, but the pain will eventually get better. But be prepared to know that it might get A LOT worse before your start to feel any sort of relief!

  4. Well. I wish I’d found this, or a similar site sooner. As much pain as I am in, I think I am actually doing very well!!
    * I am a 69 year old female.
    * I had this surgery to help my sleep apnea:
    – C-pap did not significantly alleviate my
    problem, tried for 9 mo before my “Sleep
    Doc” suggested an
    – appliance to pull my jaw forward. I loved it
    for several years, but developed TMJ. My
    Doc gave me the name of a “gifted
    – In two weeks he performed two
    surgeries. (Possibly one more if this does
    not do the trick. Something with the back
    of the tongue.)
    1) Endoscopy to check my airway and
    repaired a deviated septum. While
    there he removed a piece of “floppy
    tissue” at the back of my nasal
    passage. All went well.
    2) A week later, he performed a
    tonsillectomy, tightened my soft
    palette. (Again “floppy tissue.”) and
    removed the uvula. Throat looked a
    little barren on day 2 when I first
    All my treatment began at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, when I was about 40 years old. (30 years ago) I first went to a neurologist, believing I had narcolepsy (doctor said, Idiopathic Hypersomulance).
    All along the way sleep studies were done, diagnosis’s were adjusted, and treatments were changed. Baylor doctors have stood by me, and I believe will be able to “fix” my apnea. At my age, I know numerous individuals who simply ignore their sleep problems, which can destroy their their quality of life, if not their life.

    This the early morning of Day 9: My post-op complaints sound like all the others I have read about here. Most painful surgery ever, lost about 10 lbs, have had some panic attacks, eating only soft foods, problems with pain meds, etc. At 69, I think I’m doing very well. My complaints sound like the 25 year olds and I’ll take that!!
    Those with apnea, just keep working at it. It is worth the effort.
    Laura in Houston

    1. Thanks Laura! Best of health to you.

  5. I’m on day 24! I feel about 80% to where I was prior to surgery. A couple days ago, I developed a head cold. Sinus drainage, coughing, runny nose, and sneezing. This isn’t helping my recovery. Still a little uncomfortable to swallow but I can eat about anything unless it’s very spicy. My ears pop when I swallow but i thinks it’s due to congestion. I wondered if I would make it through. I did. It wasn’t very easy at all. Keep your chin up even though it hurts.

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