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 

April 7, 2015 12:03 pm

I have no pain at all. when I swalled solid diet I feel pain.then I started to drink juice only. but firstday was horrible.

I am feeling better now. recovery day 4th day from operation.

March 13, 2015 12:00 am

I’m 27 and am finishing day 7 after my tonsillectomy. Worst. Pain. Of. my. life. There is absolutely no way to describe it. I had tonsil stones pretty bad, so I got my tonsils out. I’m not saying I regret doing it, I’m just saying I would rather go through labor again than have this surgery. The actual surgery went fine, and the first day my pain was only about 5/10. Days 3-5 were the absolute worst. 6 started getting a bit better, and today so far is the least excruciating. I had early bleeding on day 3 & went to the ER. They were no help. My bathroom sink looked like someone murdered a hamster. For 6 days I was literally incapacitated. I laid in bed all day, every day. The pain meds barely did anything for the pain, but sure made me sick, dizzy, and nauseous! I feel like it only helped with ear pain, which also makes me nauseous, and it would wear off after about 2 hours. Forget about sleep. Once your throat Dries out, that’s the end of it. It feels like some sort of tiny animal trying to claw it’s way out of your throat. And food? What’s food… I’m STARVING. I can’t eat anything without it feeling like I’m swallowing nails or glass. I just… I don’t know a word strong enough to describe the feeling. The ear pain just intensifies everything. Like the constant feeling that your ears want to pop, mixed with someone shoving an ice pick in there. The only relief I seem to get is from staying hydrated. Also, putting an ice pack on my neck area where the tonsils were, helps to calm the swelling. Otherwise, I got nothin. To anyone pondering this surgery, good luck, and God speed.

March 9, 2015 5:25 pm

I’m a 30 y/o female on day 11 after my tonsillectomy. Everything up to this point has been a breeze. Starting day 7-8 starting have really bad pains on one side. I was afraid maybe I broke my stitches or something. Cold & hot stuff would burn like the dickens and it would be excruciating pain in my ear. Today I went to my doctor for a post op & he said I’ve actually healed faster than expected and I was not on any eating restrictions now. I do still need to take pain meds tho. He said take them until the pain stops. The side that is hurting is open, meaning the scab is gone, which in turn causes the pain when I get something in it. I’m hope day 12 – 16 will only get better. Until then, I have hydrocodone at night & liquid Tylonel during the day so I can go to work.

Another note, this website & the forum posts have been so helpful. It has aloud me to know what to expect some.

1 2 3 21