Tonsillectomy Side Effects

After Tonsillectomy

Side effects

Aside from no longer having tonsils, the effects of tonsillectomy are somewhat unique to each individual. All surgeries carry the risk of complications. While tonsillectomies are no different, tonsillectomy side effects are usually mild. They sometimes reach the discomfort levels of the chronic respiratory infections leading to most tonsillectomies. For other people, ten days of significant pain is a common tonsillectomy side effect.

Not everyone undergoing a tonsillectomy has the same side effects. If you’re putting off a tonsillectomy because side effects are a concern, knowing the possible complications may help you reach a decision.

Tonsillectomy Side Effects in Children

The tonsils reach their largest size in children between the ages of 4 and 7, according to the Better Health Channel. Your child is most susceptible to infected tonsils during these years. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital reports that tonsillectomy side effects for this age group include:

• Residual bleeding
• Anesthesia-induced nausea or vomiting during the first 24 hours following surgery
• Throat pain that may irritate the nerve leading to the ears
• Jaw or neck pain
• Mouth breathing and snoring for up to two weeks
• A voice change if the child’s tonsils were very large
• Low-grade fever for a few days

Some children may continue experiencing these tonsillectomy side effects for up to two weeks. Most, however, recover fully within seven to 10 days. Tonsillectomy recovery for adults is another story.

Tonsillectomy Side Effects in Adults

Adults may require longer recovery periods than children. Tonsillectomy side effects in adults include:

• Post-operative pain in the throat and back of the oral cavity
• Nausea from residual bleeding
• Pain subsiding after 48 hours and recurring three or four days later. It may involve the ears as well as the mouth and throat.
• An unpleasant taste from scabs forming over the surgical wounds.

The American Association of Pediatrics’ “Textbook of Pediatric Care” reports the most common tonsillectomy complication is postoperative bleeding, in 1 to 2 percent of cases.

Tonsillectomy Recovery

Tonsillectomy Recovery

Greg Tooke

35 comments on “Tonsillectomy Side Effects
  1. Samantha H. says:

    Hi, I’m looking for some helpful information. I had my tonsils out on July 22, 2014 at the age of 38 due to recurrent infections, swollen lymph nodes, red/swollen tonsils, pain when talking, headaches, fevers, difficulty swallowing due to swollen tonsils, recurrent throbbing pain in the tonsils (mostly present on the left side), but no sore throat. My last experience lasted about eight months while I continued to experience all of the complications listed above. I endured post op pain for about a month and now almost two months later I have a lingering feeling as if the area/tissue where my tonsils were is tight & numb but when it doesn’t feel numb it has begun to ache/throb like my tonsils did before surgery. Can you offer any insight? Will this ever go away? I don’t have any other symptoms of an infection. I think I may need a new evaluation/opinion from an ENT.

  2. Alondra says:

    I had a tonsilsectomy about 3 to 4 weeks healed from my throat but since my surgery everything That is SWEET tastes diferent to this normal or will I not be able to enjoy sweet food anymore

  3. Natalie says:

    I’m Natalie(12 years old) and I just came home after a surgary today. My throat is so sore I just want to die! And now I don’t want to talk cause it hurts! A lot! But now and then I try to drink something to fill my stomach cause swallowing food is to hard for me and if I swallow liquids I have to swallow twice cause it stays there. I wander if I’ll survive the week and the rest of the month(if it lasts that long). Please reply if you ever experienced these symtoms after a tonsillectomy and if you have any remadies for them please tell me! I need the help.

    • Greg Tooke says:

      Hi Natalie! I certainly have been through what you’re experience. You’re lucky, (I doubt you feel “lucky” right now;)), to be having this done at a younger age. Your recovery should be much easier than many of the older folks, Like me, on the site.

      I know it’s hard to swallow, but it’s really important to KEEP DRINKING LIQUIDS!

      A big part of the problem is probably a swollen uvula- that thing that hangs in the back of your throat like a punching bag. It will shrink back to normal soon- cold liquids can help reduce the swelling.

      Hang in there my dear. It’s tough, but it’s temporary. Take a look around this website- lots of tips.

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