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 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


  1. No worries. They will come back. I had my surgery in Februrary 2012 it took 6 months but one day all of a sudden the bad taste will be gone and food will finally taste good again 🙂

    1. This gives me hope! Thanks. It has been 4 months of torture and forcing myself to eat but knowing that there is hopefully only 2 more months of this helps me feel like there is an end. I was starting to worry that this would be permanent.

  2. I had my opp in June 2012. My mouth taste is horrible especially in mornings, i cant take any sweet stuff but my doctor said it would take 3 months for the taste buds to come back and still no sign of them.

  3. I am 59… I had mine out jan 30,2012… I still feel like my throist closes up if i get dehydrated , my taste buds are barely coming back and food feels like it get stuck on both sides. i have heard it can take up to a year for an adult to feel normal again.

    1. Omg! Your post is exactly was i was searching hoping to find! Ugh……up to a yr?
      Thirsty, getting food stuck is the worst of it. I feel like the back of my throat is still a bit swollen as well. Hope these annoying set backs go away soon. 6/25/12 was my surgery date.

      1. Chris carter, my op was 24/07/12 and it has been hell! It feels like a ridge has formed where the tonsils were and every swallow has to negociate this obstacle. Does anyone else feel like this?

  4. I am 43,its been 2 months since my tonsilectomy,I still have what feels like something in the very back of my throat on both sides that food gets stuck on and a horrible taste to the point I cant taste other things and even water even tastes metallic. Does anyone know what might be wrong? My doctor just says an adult can take months or a year or more to recover. I don’t buy it,something is still there.

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