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 fire extinguisher text

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 Side Effects
Tonsillectomy Side Effects

Greg Tooke

76 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy Side Effects

  1. 6 days after surgery and have dilated pupils & nausea along with pain

  2. So I am day 8…and I have a bruise and dent on my right cheek near my jaw joint. It is also very red and hot along my whole cheek, but only on one side. What the hell is that?!? I can’t find anything anywhere to say it’s normal…

  3. HI! I’m on day 10 after my tonsillectomy and still experiencing a lot of pain. The scabs are coming off and yesterday I noticed on one side that I now have a hole in the tissue to the right of my uvula. Is this ok? Anyone else experience this? I’m trying not to freak out about it. Not sure if I should call the Dr or just wait until my follow up in 5 days.

  4. Hi! I’m on day 10 of recovery and am feeling great! My scabs are almost gone and I have so much more energy! Pain is under control without any pain meds! I’m wondering – has anyone else had a numb tongue after surgery? Just the front 1/4 of it feels numb and tingly. It’s a strange sensation and I’m curious to know why I have it! Or if anyone else has experienced this. Ps. This website is an absolute blessing! Reading other people’s experiences and advice was so helpful! Thanks and happy healing!

    1. Hi Samantha! Glad you’re doing well and have benefited from the site! Hope you can stay in touch. Future patients would love to hear from you!

  5. It being about 3 months and throat is still tight up on me and feels when is making me have shorter of breathing . What should I do it being on now for a month. Help me please

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