Tonsillectomy Recovery Time | How long does it take?


How long does it take to recover after tonsillectomy?

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!
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 

234 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy Recovery Time | How long does it take?”

  1. I had my tonsils removed on Tuesday, today is Sunday(day5/6) and I’m actually amazed at how good I’ve been feeling. In general the pain is nothing compared to the worst case of tonsillitis I had not long before they came out. I’m taking a single endone at night and panadol during the day when needed, plus antibiotics and anti inflammatory perscribed by the doctor(not sure if it’s for my lungs or throat or both). I find the absolute worst pain is when I yawn or hiccup it’s like all the sores re-tear or something – youchies.
    With all this said I was stuck in hospital after the operation for four days due to consolidation on my lungs and a slight collapse from the operation(very uncommon side effect the dr said), so I was on IV antibiotics and a nebuliser for that time. Maybe that has something to do with the healing process? I also started eating normal food (if you call hospital food normal) the day after the operation, not Much just a little bit of a toast and cereal, it hurt but I think it helped!
    This morning I thought it would be a good idea to go and do some grocery shopping (I’m single and live alone) but that was a horrible disaster that ended in tears, not due to pain but a general feeling of all over sickness. So I guess the key is to find a great Netflix series and get comfy in bed until your body repairs itself!
    Good luck and fingers crossed like me you’re aren’t in a world of pain!!!

  2. I’m almost 18 Years old and on day 6 from having my tonsils removed. Honestly I feel great, one of my scabs fell off on day 3 and the other fell off of on day 5 but oh my i was so sore from it. I’m starting to taking the medicine they prescribed me every 5-6 hours since the pain isn’t really there but sometimes swallowing would make my ears hurt. Talking doesn’t really hurt, only sometimes but I limit myself on talking. Now I’m wondering if I’m actually healing faster than others or my high pain tolerance is that good but I do still eat soft foods and I’m pretty sure my mom is scared for me to try other things to eat but I’m feeling better day by day.

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