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.

Check out our new tonsillectomy recovery video- Caution: Not always pretty

Do yourself a favor: Get Netflix or Amazon Prime – here’s a link for 30 day free trial!

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 

Leave a Reply

97 Comments on "Tonsillectomy Recovery Time"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
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 »
June 11, 2016 11:41 pm

I just got my tonsils out Tuesday morning (June 7th). The first 2 days were peanuts. Each day the pain has been getting slowly worse. However I still haven’t taken any of the oxycodene that they prescribed. The pain is tolerable and more annoying & uncomfortable than anything. I haven’t been sleeping well at all which has been making me exhausted. I have a high pain tolerance & as long as it keeps like this I think I can manage. I have the grossest taste in my mouth from the cauterizing it literally tastes like the smell of burnt hair. I can’t wait til this is over all I can think about is all the different foods I want to eat. Hoping everything goes smoothly from here. Luckily I’ve been having a good recovery so far aside from the uncomfortableness.

June 7, 2016 4:13 pm

I am on Day 8 and have had no improvements. I am worried that my scabs will never fall off as they are still thick and white. This has dragged on so much pain has slowly increased for me every day and it’s getting me incredibly down. I have strong pain meds and am taking endone every 3-4 hours and haven’t missed on lot yet and it isn’t doing anything anymore. I’m 19 and had a few surgeries before but this is far the worst recovery. Someone please tell me when I’ll notice some improvement.