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. In my state since I’m under 18 they don’t prescribe any pain meds. That’s the worst part, because the pain is excruciating. Taking over the counter stuff is not helping at all. K tend to wake up crying, honestly this is the worst pain I’ve ever had. I can’t swallow, but I have to force myself to drink water because I don’t wanna be dehydrated. I’m on day 4 of recovery and it seems to get worse everyday instead of better.

  2. Hey everyone,

    I just had my surgery yesterday.. Not feeling the best. Is it good if your scabs fall off? My tongue is yellow and very, VERY swollen.. Is this normal? It is extremely hard to swallow fluids and I have ate lots of popsicles. When I woke up this morning, my throat was burning like Hades. Is there any tips for better sleep and waking up better? It is wednesday and I had my surgery yesterday (tuesday) so do you think I can go to a party on friday? Will I be feeling better? I think that I have been talking way too much and I can taste some blood… I am not sure if this is normal or not.

    Sorry for all of the questions..

  3. Hello all,
    It’s 5 am here, day 2 of post op recovery.
    Day 1 was definitely “the honeymoon” day as others have called it since you’re still hyped up from the anesthesia and pain killers they give you in the OR.
    Noticed later in the day on Day 1 that my pain was increasing, but definitely manageable.
    Was prescribed antibiotics and hydrocodone and am staying very routine on taking it so that my pain doesn’t get out of control. Ice packs have definitely helped me a lot, and I’ve been sleeping in an elevated position to reduce throat swelling at night.
    At this point, it’s difficult to even swallow my own saliva, but the meds do help with that.
    I’ve been drinking water religiously and for me the easiest things to eat have been applesauce and Jello.
    I’m not talking at all to make sure my throat isn’t strained in any way.
    Lots of liquids and soft foods people! Take care of yourself and don’t get off of your routine just because you start to slightly feel better. Relapsing is possible so make sure you’re well rested, hydrated, and eating a soft diet.
    Well wishes sent out to you all!

      1. Not feeling too great. Just woke up into day 5 and I was semi-choking on my own saliva…gross I know. Woke up the day after I wrote this post and vomited a few times due to taking these pain meds on a basically empty stomach. I’ve not been able to swallow anything other than applesauce or jello for the past few days, so that’s been really upsetting.
        Feeling so “over it” and wishing this recovery process was shorter.
        It seems like a little bit of my scabs are falling off, so I’m hoping they’ll be completely gone within the next few days.
        Thanks for checking in.

        1. Hi Cate, I’m day 3 post surgery and wanted to check in and see how you’re feeling now? Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

  4. Hi all,
    I’m a 31 year old that had my tonsils removed 16 days ago. Luckily, my mom flew in to help take care of me after. The doc told my mom that my tonsils were the largest she had seen, so I would take longer to heal and be in more pain.
    Here was my experience:
    Day 1- not so bad…surgery at 7 am, and they kept me in the hospital until the evening to monitor my pain levels.
    Day 2–pain in throat was bearable—only drank water and took liquid hydrocodone every 6 hours or so. HOWEVER, I had the worst migraine of my life—my head felt like it was literally splitting open. The doc called to check up and told my mom that this surgery can trigger migraines if you are susceptible. My mom went out and got Excedrin Migraine and crushed it in applesauce for me. This helped SO MUCH!!! Trust me, you do not want to experience a migraine on top of your throat pain. Also, I started to run a low-grade fever.
    Day 3- Still rain a low grade fever. Still only drank water—tried eating a milkshake and it was too difficult to swallow. The positive side is I was drinking a ton of water to stay hydrated. Negative side—it did not help my fever.
    Day 4- Fever was climbing higher. I could feel my body burning. Once it hit 102.5, my mom called the doc, and they put me on liquid antibiotics right away. Throat pain still bad—drinking water and eating applesauce. 4 days of pretty much just water at this point.
    Day 5- Fever back down…throat feeling a bit better during the day. Drank a frappachino—weird metallic taste in my mouth made it taste really funky. Ate soup at night. Finally getting some nutrients, but still not enough.
    Day 6- no fever! BUT, antibiotic started to upset my stomach…ate some Mac and Cheese, but couldn’t get much down…resorted to soup. Still taking the hydrocodone at night when the pain is the worst—liquid Advil during the day.
    Day 7- Pain in throat is tolerable during the day if I stay on schedule with meds. Still can’t eat much— ate Mac and cheese and soup. Still can’t really talk.
    Days 8-10– throat is tolerable during the day with meds, gets painful at night. Antibiotic made my stomach so upset—nausea, bloating, etc. Still sticking to soups and soft foods.
    Day 11-13- throat is pretty good during the day with meds, was able to eat french fries and a soft grilled cheese sandwich, but throat would get sore and back to soup I went. Still painful at night
    Day 14 – Went to work—voice went horse from talking and went home early
    Day 15- follow up appmnt with doc—she said throat hasn’t healed and still at risk of bleeding. Recommended I stay on a soft diet for another week. Developed a cough and headache returned.
    Day 16- My voice is gone, coughing up gunk, drainage from nose—I must have caught something while my body was trying to heal. Tired of being sick. Wondering when I will feel myself again. I woke up in the middle of the night and cried when I was hacking up stuff…my body just can’t seem to get it together, and I feel mentally drained.

    A note: I never felt my scabs come off. My worst days as far as throat pain were days 1-7, and then it went uphill.

    Some tips—
    1) Get a big pillow that lets you sleep upright.
    2) The humidifier did NOT help me the first 2 weeks—it made me cough and that was painful. However, it is helping me on week 3 now that my throat isn’t so raw.
    3) If you are prone to migraines, make sure you have medicine for migraines handy!!
    4) Icing the outside of your throat feels amazing. Do this.
    5) Chocolate ice cream/milkshakes taste weird ever since my surgery. It is unpleasant—maybe stick to vanilla flavors?

  5. got mine out on the 14th, on day 8 post op, and i was eating dinner and something came off. i don’t know what it was but it’s easier for me to breathe. i think it came from my adenoids or ears but i was black and had a little blood on it. don’t know what it was but whatever.

    1. It was the scabs coming out or falling off the your throat

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