Tonsillectomy Recovery Time


How long does it take to recover after having your tonsils taken out?

Tonsillectomy recovery time is unique for each patient. The recovery timeline for children is much shorter than for adults, with seemingly less pain. My own eight year old son was back to his old self in less than a week after his tonsils taken out. This may have fanned the flames of my unreasonable expectations of my own  recovery time as an adult. His was fairly typical of a child his age. Children’s bodies heal faster than adults’ do.

Tonsillectomy Recovery Time

What to expect after tonsil surgery

The timeline for recovery for an adult is a different story. Age matters. In fact, it appears that the older an adult is at the time of their tonsillectomy, the longer the recovery is, in general. Based on my own adult tonsillectomy recovery, and the stories of thousands of my readers, I’d put the average adult tonsillectomy recovery time at approximately 10.43 days. Yes, I’m that good!

Tonsillectomy fire extinguisher text
Humor aside, ten days seems to be pretty typical. I added the .43 because so many people, myself included, thought they had it licked and went back to work around day ten, only to find they weren’t quite ready. As scabs slough off in second week of recovery, many adults experience a bit of a pain relapse, just as they thought they were almost recovered. This is a really tough period for many. They’ve spent almost two weeks with minimal sleep, minimal nourishment, minimal activity, and lots of pain medicine. It can be downright depressing for adults recovering in this second week.

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I do hear from many adults whose recovery times are closer to a week – perhaps due to my good advice, perhaps due to genetics. It’s hard to say why some adults’ recovery timelines are shorter, and their experiences less traumatic. There are also cases that drag out further. If you’re one of a small minority that requires re-cauterization for bleeding, or don’t take the proper precautions, (many of these are outlined here and in my book), your tonsillectomy recovery time may be as much as three or four weeks. I want to make an important point here- one that I cannot overemphasis: Stay hydrated! Keep drinking fluids! Dehydration is the worst enemy of the tonsillectomy patient.

My advice: ask your employer, your family, your friends, and the rest of the world to give you two weeks for your adult tonsillectomy. You may surprise them, hopefully for the better.

tonsillectomy recovery timeRecovery is unique to each individual- sure.  We know that recovery time for adults is longer, and maybe harder, than for children. I remember my own son bouncing back in less than a week! My own experience taught me that ten days off from a job that required lots of talking was a bit light.  I generally advise two weeks.  As I’ve said, most employers will let you come back early.  That’s easier than asking for more time after the fact. I’ve read the accounts of thousands of tonsillectomy patients- most of them adults. I’ve learned that the time required varies. I wonder though, how many tonsillectomy patients never really post about their experience.
Are you one of those quiet ones lying in the weeds? I’d like to get a better feel for the average adult tonsillectomy recovery time. Please take a moment and share your own experience in recovering from tonsillectomy surgery. You can help us all!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.

-Greg Tooke 

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103 Comments on "Tonsillectomy Recovery Time"

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July 22, 2016 10:54 pm

Just got mine out earlier today at 10:00 i don’t really know how to feel , the pain is kinda annoying and the pain medicine isn’t lasting long enough for me and swallowing is getting difficult . I hope it gets just a little better in the next couple days or I don’t know what I’m gonna do with myself

July 23, 2016 11:20 pm

Hang in there!! I just had mine out about 3 weeks ago. The pain is extreme but around day 10 you’ll feel better again. It will get worse before it gets better unfortunately. It was a strange recovery. I actually stopped pain meds all around on day 4 because they were making me nauseous. Started ibuprofen and tylonel every 6 hours. Ibuprofen I found to be better than pain meds actually. Drink lots of fluids, maybe even set an alarm every two hours to drink fluids and take care of yourself!

July 5, 2016 2:19 pm

I had mine out 8 days after Jake and i am a 13 year old male and let me say i barely talk barely eat and i hate fluids so i only drink about 3 cups of water a day. I am on my 6th day of recovery and it sucks even tho i have heard much worse stories i dont know exactly how quick this recovery will be. People say after a week you feel better but im not feeling it. I mean 6 days in and it still hurts… But i never threw up after surgery but i did have some stomach pain. It hurts to turn my hear and i have alternating pain in my tonsils. MORNINGS ARE THE WORSTT!! I recommend waking up drinking some water eating eggs or cream of wheat then take pain medications ASAP then finish that water from earlier that pretty much takes out most of the pain for the time period. I feel as if the pain doesnt hit me as much as others i just hope for a quick recovery. I hope this helps somebody and i will post again when i am all healed

July 13, 2016 11:44 am

It is now my 15th day of recovery and im eating anything i want and i have been since about the 11th day. I rode my bike on the 9th day and that really helped because the quicker you get into routine that faster you heal and it worked like a charm. I had a graduation party my tenth day and i had chicken and pulled pork and anything i wanted. I just recommend doing things as early as you can because you heal quicker

June 22, 2016 6:08 pm
I had my tonsils removed last Friday. Let me just say I wish I got them removed sooner, and I’m only 13. The last week was hell for me! Before I’ve fractured my back, broke my hand, had many teeth pulled, had a bone sist, and I had my spline removed and tonsils by far is the worst pain I will ever know. I don’t think I am close to recovery because I am on day 6. I am barely able to eat, sleep, drink, and talk. I am having a lot of food cravings that are killing me. Seeing food commercials are the worst. I am taking pain pills (vikaden) idk how to spell it) and I don’t want to take them because it absolutely hurts my mouth. My surgeon said my tonsils were in the top 1% in size. Idk if size of the tonsils matter but it seems like it. I’ve puked three time last night, and that was hell. There is pain all around my throat, jaw, and ears. I hate it. Something that I found easier to consume liquids is taking a serringe and putting it back behind your what once were your tonsils and squirting it in the back of your mouth. I’ve been eating cream of wheat, applesauce, jello, pudding, Raman noodles, Mac n cheese, Alfredo and mashed potatoes. I know that it seems like a lot but I’ve been consuming very little of each. I don’t recommend drinking anything milk based drinks because I makes more mucus in your mouth and makes it harder to swallow. I haven’t been yawning! But I’ve started coughing a lot the last two days. Idk if I had the worst of it yet but it deffinatly feels like it. I have become depressed. I want to wake up tomorrow and have all the pain be gone and dig my jaws into a well cooked juicy fat peice of steak. I like to do things to keep my mind of the pain like reading or doing math. I cry even tho it makes it worse. I hate sleeping cause when I wake up my mouth is dry and painful. I don’t have much taste at all and my tongue is white and swollen. I’ve been communicating with my parents through text because it hurts to open my mouth. The medicine I’m taking makes me dizzy, and I hate it. I recommend staying hydrated or else it’s 10 time worse. I consider my self with a high pain tolerance but this surgery defiantly made me rethink that😂. What I’ve been doing basically all since my surgery is laying on the couch watching tv. I hate the smell of food cooking because I know I can’t have any. I regret getting my tonsils removed. It seems like it will never end. I would kill to be out of this pain. I have noticed myself becoming increasingly angry at my siblings. I am so miserable. Honestly I would rather have… Read more »