Tonsillectomy Recovery Time Poll

Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery Time – a Poll

Tonsillectomy recovery time is unique to each individual- sure.  We know that recovery time for adults is longer, and maybe harder, than tonsillectomy recovery time 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!

So let me put this out as an informal survey for people who have been through it, to help those planning a tonsillectomy.  (It’s also one of the most commonly researched questions by adults considering tonsillectomy.)  It’s my hope that we can amass a good sampling of experiences to help guide would-be adult tonsillectomy patients as they plan their family, work, and other obligations,

What is the average recovery time for tonsillectomy in adults? Read my Summary: Tonsillectomy Recovery Time Summary

So, what is it?  What is your recommended adult tonsillectomy recovery time?

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Tonsillectomy Recovery Time
Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery Time

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  1. I’m 5 days post op tonsillectomy and have to say I was extremely worried after reading that almost everyone says the recovery is terrible. Luckily mine’s been okay so far. When I first woke up I was very sore, was about to get morphine but was taken back to the ward and was refused analgesics when I got back there for several hours, and then was only given tablets even though I insisted I couldn’t get them down. Drinking only sips of water was agony, at least as bad as when I broke my ankle, except the pain was in my throat! When I finally got some soluable oral meds the pain went to almost nothing, and since then I’ve been pretty comfortable. Here in the UK they insist you eat solid foods straight away, to help slough off the gunk and scabs, and discourage infection, and I had to eat toast and proper food before I was allowed home. I did this pretty easily once I’d had some pain relief. I’ve eaten normally since the surgery, nothing spicy or sharp like chips, but I’ve had salads and toast, cereals etc. I am waiting for the increased pain and bleeding that everyone says happens about a week post op, but honestly I have reduced my pain meds to only twice a day, simply from fear the pain will come back and think I could do without them if I had to. It’s really only like a bad sore throat for me.
    I’m glad I’ve been lucky not to suffer like nearly everyone else, but apart from yawning and sneezing, and trying to move my tongue around too much which all hurt of course, it’s so far been fine. Most of all, despite the horrific pain I had straight after the surgery and expected to continue, I would definitely still have been pleased to get rid of my tonsils. I’m really glad I had the courage to go through with it!
    Good luck to everyone scared to death by all these horror stories! Hopefully there are a lot of people who have my experience, and just don’t post on the internet!

  2. Hello! I had my tonsils removed on July 9th.
    Today is like 15 of Post-Op recovery.

    I was told to consistently spray a nasal saline solution up my nose to ensure it stays moist and to help with keeping the scabs moist, and keeping your nasal passages clear so you can breath. (Also doubles as a way to prevent infection)
    I was told that drinking through a straw helps speed recovery.
    I was told to drink tons of water, in fact, anything except carbonated beverages and alcohol. Staying hydrated is the only way to prevent acute pain that happens when you are dehydrated.

    Days 1 through 5 were bearable.
    Days 6 through 12 were the worst for me. Just as I thought I was getting better, the period of the scabbing coming off really caused some pain.
    I didn’t have any horrendous bleeding. I oozed a bit which is normal.
    I kept hydrated with ice water, and sometimes alternating with tap water, depending on if the ice water caused pain.
    I also ate popsicles, pudding, and kept my nutrition in check with pedialyte and ensure.
    By day 14, I was able to begin incorporating very soft solids (light solids) back into my diet.
    I still have pain today at day 15. It has not subsided, but it’s bearable.
    I don’t have much of a voice either as it is very weak.

    I also recommend the full two weeks off from work for adults as this is not something you’ll be able to work through. The medication promotes a type of attention deficit that will prevent you from being able to focus, and I definitely do not advise driving at all.
    Get plenty of rest. Move around the house or take a walk if you need to move.
    You will not get more than 4 hours of sleep during the first 12 days most likely due to the pain meds wearing off in the night. So you will miss out on some valuable restorative REM sleep. If you don’t get REM sleep, it can be dangerous – so you can end up a bit delirious and your mood will deteriorate – so just remember why that is. Once you can get in at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep – you’ll feel much better.

    If your doctor prescribes Methylprednisolone to you, it will also cause your mood to wan, don’t fret – just tell yourself it’s the medication.

    I do drink out of straws, and I don’t know if it’s helped or not.
    I use the saline nasal spray religiously. It may sting at first, but only for a second.
    I did notice the pain level intensity change if I got a little dehydrated. Please please please drink water often and stay hydrated. This more than anything else will help your recovery.

    1. Also wanted to add what all I had done:
      Turbinate Reduction
      Sinus cleansing

      With the septoplasty you can’t breath out of your nose for the first five days until the packing is washed away by the saline or vacuumed out by your doctor.
      This means you WILL end up with a very dry throat when you wake up from naps or sleeping. Just drink a lot of water no matter the pain before you go rushing to your meds.
      I also found diluting my hydrocodone in an ounce of water helped ease the stinging when taking it.

  3. I had my tonsils removed on April 25th; currently on day 6 post-op. As I sit here trying to think of how to describe my experience thus far, three words come to mind; Painful, Brutal, and Unbearable. Following my surgery, I was in recovery for several hours as I was having some trouble with the anesthesia. The ride home as well as that day is a blur. That night however was needless to say painful. I was up every hour or so as I began to experience a significant amount of pain in my ears, neck, and throat. This pain has only gotten worse. On day 4, I was rushed to my Drs, as I was spitting up blood the night prior. Luckily, the blood was due to the scrapping of my adenoids and not from the removal of my tonsils. Pain meds (tylenol/codeine) ware off after 2+ hours. Due to the pain, I have only been able to tolerate some juices, water, ices, and pedialyte freezer pops. Today, I tried chicken broth however I found it to be brutal as the salt in the soup stung as it went down. Because I am unable to eat, I am extremely weak, and my body aches; getting out of bed to use the bathroom is a huge task in itself. I was given some tips by my Dr and friends as how to make the recovery as smooth as possible. As grateful as I am for everyone’s advice, much has been useless, as there is little to do in regards to easing the pain. One thing I do recommend is purchasing a cool mist humidifier if you don’t already have one, as this will help to create moisture in the air, which in turn will help keep your throat somewhat moist. I am beyond lucky to have my mom who has been at my beckon call; without her, my recovery would be far worse. Hopefully the pain will begin to subside in the next few days; with that, I hope everyone is well and begins to feel some relief soon. Regards, Michele

  4. hi,…I’m 40 years old, and I just done my tonsillectomy last 23rd of April 2013, today is my 8th day, the first 2 days after the op., it didn’t hurt that much, but starting the 3rd day till day 7th (everyone may vary), prepare and get ready to enjoy the ride to hell,…the pain was unbearable, it is crazy…you will feel that your throat is swollen, you feel pain in your ears, very painfull every time you move your tounge, very hard to swallow anything (even your own saliva), can not swallow anything with spices (don’t you ever try with chilli, you will dreaming about dying), you will feel that every time you drink liquid it will goes to your nose too, feeling very weak because not enough nutrition, losing weight, feel sleepy all the time, and frustrated in severe way,…. mind, mental and physical. For those who doesn’t have to take out their tonsil, please don’t, you will regret it,…..It’s The Worst Week in your Life!!!!!!!!! So Horrible and Undescribable. If I knew what kind of pain I’d be in, I better have 10 tonsils than doing the Op!!!!!, But I feel relieve now, because I’ve done my worst!!!!!!

  5. I had my surgery on April 18th, today is April 27th. My throat still feels swollen but the pain is nothing like the first 5 day. My first and second day weren’t bad,i was actually able to eat but i was taking pain meds around the clock, as prescribed.come day three, it was like i hit a wall. I got sick from not enough fluid and all the meds. The pain was awful, so sleeping helped. Someone mentioned that fluids feel like they are going to come out of your nose, that gets better as you learn to swallow again. In trying to get used to feeling all the mucus. I also had some removal of bone in my nose, to help breathing. My doctor said that or body natural produces a quart of mucus daily, nasty when that’s all you feel. I go back to work in two days. I am a little concerned if i will be ok due to the swelling i still have, but as far as pain goes, it’s not bad. I only have pain first thing in the morning now. It has been rough, I’m not saying it was easy but I’m trying to look at the light at the end of thetunnel

    1. Hi Crystal,

      I had my surgery on this past Monday April 22, 2013. It has now been 6 days since the surgery, and I’m starting to feel some releaf. I’m due to return to work on this comming Monday, but my husband had to contact my supervisor to request an additional week off. I do deal with the public a lot; answering phone calls as well as communicating with other employees. My supervisour had requested me to take aleast two weeks off to recover, I glad I took her advice. My suggestion to the adults who are planning to have a tonsillectomy, take at least two weeks to recover. I’m still having problems eating, but I’m sure it will get better as time goes by. Hope this helps!

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