Patient Comments: Tonsillectomy - Risks and Complications


What was the cause, risk, and complication of you needing a tonsillectomy? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Jordyn, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I went to urgent care with a sore throat, and she told me it was laryngitis. Two weeks later it didn’t get better, I went to student health and she ended up giving me a referral to an ENT because I had a peritonsillar abscess. They drained it but unfortunately it was back and more painful 3 weeks later. No medicine was working or clearing the infection and they decided my only option was a tonsillectomy, 100 percent worth it, I thought. My abscess pain was the worst pain ever, worse than my post-tonsillectomy pain.

Comment from: Dee Eff, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 08

The reason for my tonsillectomy was chronic tonsillitis and sinus drainage issues (due to the adenoids also being infected often) that led to me being sick at least once a month.

Comment from: Gab, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

I needed a tonsillectomy because I was routinely getting tonsil stones. My doctor said aside from these stones affecting my jaw, which they were, the constant removing and poking at them can cause cell changes over time that can eventually lead to cancer. I am on day 7 post operation and I am still in a lot of pain. I have been taking liquid oxycodone and liquid adult strength Tylenol every five hours which helps so much with the pain. I also take Zofran every six hours for nausea. Also, amoxicillin.

Comment from: Clerk, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

Originally I had my tonsillectomy when I was 21, yet for the next 31 years I continued to suffer multiple throat infections per year. Two months ago I saw an ENT who shockingly informed me that not all my tonsils had been removed, left side grew back and recommended they be removed again. I received 2 other opinions, and all came to the same conclusion. Risk was my age, 52.

Comment from: Jen, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 18

When I was a child I had gotten mononucleosis, but we were abused children so mom didn’t really take us to a doctor. Well, by the time I was 12 I had 13 trips to the emergency room due to tonsillitis; my airway was constricted. It all stopped one day but came back when I was 22. In almost two years I have been on 14 rounds of prednisone and countless antibiotics. I had enough! I went to an ENT and he saw my tonsils were the largest he had ever seen personally and we scheduled to take them out. Now we are one week post operation. He used the coblation technique which meant cauterizing. The pain is awful. I just sleep in three hour shifts because I have to take the pain medicines every four hours otherwise I feel like I swallowed glass. Hot showers in the middle of the night with it beating on your neck is surprisingly soothing. I just am choosing to believe all this pain will be worth it just so I don’t have those tonsils anymore.

Comment from: Ms3tonsil, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 06

Interesting fact. I had tonsillectomy out at age 26. I was told at follow-up that he was not able to get all of my left tonsil. Once I healed, I could see a little tissue about the size of my pinky finger nail. I lost about 30 lb, it was awful. Fast forward, I'm 45 now, have a tonsil that is full size, have suffered from chronic tonsillitis and laryngitis the past 12 months. My ENT (not the same one) said it is time to remove my 3rd tonsil. Not exactly what I wanted to hear but dealing with a sore throat every day is awful.

Comment from: mary lou, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

I had my right tonsil out a week ago. I am fifty eight years old, had them out at age 19 prior. ENT stated they didn't get it all and it grew back. If you have had strep throat, then you know what a sore throat is! It is not as bad as strep. Not saying it is a cake walk, it is not. Initially the first couple days were just running the humidifier and drinking a lot of water. It is when you remember that you are hungry and try to eat something of a little substance that the fun begins. Scrambled eggs were like swallowing marbles! The jaw, ear and tongue pain was terribly depressing after the sixth day; enough! I did not take Lortab, except to help sleep at night; 500 mg of Tylenol worked better actually for pain. Neighbor brought cookies over tonight and I ate one. It had nuts and I started bleeding, so I drank a lot of ice water and it stopped. It was a relief to know that it was not cancerous as my only sign was that it was so much larger than the left and it was getting bigger. Air hugs to all who have this done. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Comment from: davieb, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 10

I've had psoriasis for nearly 40 years, I'm now 60 years of age. In my early twenties my body was covered quite extensively. I tried potions and creams to no effect, and bought an infrared/ultraviolet lamp for home use. This cleared my skin, and fortunately I have very little on my skin now. My nails started pitting in 1989, and I was put on methotrexate. It didn't work and I was taken off it as it was damaging my liver. Fast forward to 2009, I developed psoriatic arthritis, and I'm now on leflunomide, Co-codamol for pain, and Adcal for calcium supplement. I was on naproxen for a short while taken off it due to gastric bleed. My next option I have been given is cyclosporine in addition to leflunomide. I only use Alphosyl shampoo, it's kept my scalp clear for years. I'm now trying steeping my fingers once daily in Polytar or Capasal shampoo diluted in water to reduce the pitting on my nails, and there is a slight improvement at the nail beds.


Childhood Diseases: Measles, Mumps, & More See Slideshow
Comment from: T.C., 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I am 34 and have had sleep apnea forever. My tonsils were between the size of grapes and golf balls. They produced tonsil stones and had massive cracks in them. Still most surgeons didn't want to take them out! I finally found a great surgeon who used the forceps method to remove them. I don't know if that's what has made all the difference or not, but I feel pretty good. I took OxyContin for the first 24 hours, Tylenol the next 24 and haven't needed anything else since. The lidocaine lollipops were a big help those first days. Now I eat sherbet prior to oatmeal or eggs or swallowing pills. I tried to stay hydrated, sleep at a 30 degree angle and didn't have dairy for the first 72 hours as per doctor’s advice. I felt like my tongue was pretty swollen the first few days and I couldn't move it but now it is fine. I could already breathe easier driving home from the hospital! I'm glad I had the procedure!

Comment from: S2s44, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I had several reasons to get my tonsils removed. I have horrible sinus problems and the drainage would always run to my throat and cause it to be sore and I would cough up a lot, all through the night and all day. It was bad. Starting in 2012 I had been introduced to tonsil stones. Ironically it was right after college and I freaked out when I saw them. I thought it was an infection but later found out my brother and sister had them. I managed them for two years easily enough on top of the other issues. I also have ridiculously large tonsils. No one ever told me to get them looked at until I was an adult. The past year I have been to the doctor at least 8 times for my tonsils. This past time they were so swollen and infected, though I have never had strep throat, and they were cutting off my air supply. That was the last straw for me. At that time I scheduled my tonsillectomy surgery. I am now tonsil free as of 11.3.15.

Comment from: Mandyrenee, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

I am a 32 year old female and had sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils. I had mine removed a week ago and this is terrible. I feel like I've swallowed glass. I have an autoimmune disease that causes overall pain, and so I have a pretty high pain tolerance. But this pain is different and seems never ending. I can't eat very much and when I do it isn't enjoyable because it always feels like food is stuck in the back of my throat. All I can say is keep rinsing with warm salt water and keep your mouth very clean. Also lozenges with benzocaine help tremendously.

Comment from: Alex, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

I've had my tonsillectomy done at a private clinic in London, UK. I was anxious but happy to get rid of the recurring tonsillitis I've have had for the past 3 years. The last I had 2 month ago was the worst: quinsy. My tonsillectomy was performed yesterday. I have been lucky so far. My only pain was swallowing, no blood loss, nothing extra. Having ice cream was a challenge as it triggered the pain, however eating hard stuff was fine. I slept well last night, apart from hearing myself snore which is not nice. The only pain I've got is swallowing. All the best!

Comment from: Mark, Male (Patient) Published: August 26

I’ve been told I have severe sleep apnea. I’ve been using CPAP for 7 months but have recently stopped using it. I felt it wasn’t helping and always felt suffocated. I just went to the ENT and was told I have a large tongue. He explained the process would be to remove uvula and tonsils (even though there’s not an issue with them) then use RFA (radiofrequency ablation) to reduce the back of my tongue. Also the RFA would need to be done from time to time over my lifespan (though he didn’t specify how often.)

Comment from: jackboot45, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 04

I am 25 years old and my tonsillectomy was on July 25. This has been the worst experience of my life. Swallowing anything hurts like hell, even the liquid hydrocodone burns and only takes the edge off. The morning of day 4 and 5 where the worst for me. Aside from sleeping in about 3 hour shifts, (about how long the pain medications work), upon waking it feels like my throat is sealed shut. The only way to get it open without crying is to gently gargle with lukewarm water. Once I get my pain medications down, I've found this to be extremely relieving. Take a hot shower. Really breathe in that hot, moist air. I've found that while I sit in there, letting the water run around the base of my skull/neck, taking deep belly breaths, I experience absolute relief of all pain. Today is day 6 and has been no exception. I've gone through almost 300 ml of hydrocodone 7.5/325 and 80 oxycodone 7.5/325 tablets. The doctor said my tonsils were the biggest, nastiest most foul-odored he had even seen. After being diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, my nephrologist suggested I get these bad boys removed to hopefully restore some kidney function. I just wanted to rant about my terrible experience to you, and share the hot shower advice.

Comment from: WorriedMom, 3-6 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 03

My son who just turned 3 years old will be having both the tonsils and adenoids removed soon due to his sleep study results he had last year which showed a 66% out of 100% in breathing. I'm nervous for my little man.

Comment from: EuniqueS, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

I am so scared to have the tonsillectomy surgery on the 17th now. I've had every one of these symptoms of tonsillitis listed in everyone’s post. I hope mine goes well and for the ones after me. I hate taking pills so I don't know if the pain pills are going to help. Thanks to everyone who has shared their experience. It's helping and scaring me.


Childhood Diseases: Measles, Mumps, & More See Slideshow
Comment from: 3tonsillectomies, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 08

Sleep apnea and negative effects on the adenoids were the cause for my needing a tonsillectomy.

Comment from: TLWelder, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: April 09

I’m a 26-year-old male. I needed my tonsils removed because I was sick from November 2012 to March 2013 from a bacterial infection. I got my tonsils removed 12 days ago and I am doing much better now, but it still hurts to swallow. I have eaten some things like hamburger patties and stuff like that, but I always needed lots of water to go with it. To me, it feels like food is getting caught in the area where my tonsils used to be and causing food to not want to go down, so for now, I am back on soft stuff. My doctor said that this is normal and after another 2 to 3 weeks, I won't even notice. I think that the worst day of pain for me was on the seventh day. I needed extra pain medication and ended up sleeping the whole day.

Comment from: Moose, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I snore loudly at night and it apparently bothers my family a lot. I have trouble breathing when moving (even walking) and I can't seem to hear things well at all. My doctor advised me to get a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy along with ear tubes put in. Now I’ve become worried about the surgery, which is in a week. I’ve had only one other surgery and it was for the extraction of my wisdom teeth. I want to know how painful it is on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst pain) and how hard it is to eat or drink on the same scale. Please help—I’m scared.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 07

I was diagnosed with Rheumatic fever 17 months ago. I've been on antibiotics (IM shot once a month) since then. Even with the monthly antibiotics I've had at least one, probably two, strep throat infections in the last year. I had been referred for a tonsillectomy as a child and then again about 10 years ago because of recurrent strep infections. My doctors agreed that to protect my heart my tonsils needed to go. I had the tonsillectomy 3 days ago. I'm hungry, can't talk, and it hurts to swallow. Somehow, even through the pain I'm experiencing right now I can tell that my body is going to feel better without my tonsils. The doctors report that my immune system will be less stressed and that really feels like it's going to be true.

Comment from: dante81972, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 04

My daughter is 6 and she is having her tonsils and adenoids taken out, I argued with the doctor for about 3 months, and they told me I should wait until she is 12, well she was still 5 then, and with her snoring worse than a sailor, gaging on her food, and strep 4 times this year, stops breathing at night, and her tonsils are huge, almost touching, and no I did not want to wait until she is 12. She will be going for surgery on June 19th. The surgeon was really nice, and on a scale of 1-4 (4 being the biggest tonsils) hers are a 4.

Comment from: Sharron A, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 02

I am 51 years old, and in very good health and pretty much only had tonsils issues. Had them removed on April 20th, I am 11 days out and to tell you the truth, it was and still is the hardest surgery I have ever done. First day was bad and no sleep for 2 nights. By the 3rd day the pain was intense. I have a lot of ear pain and swallowing sometimes is very hard but I did drink, and eat a lot of ice every chance I got, and also orange popsicles. I still have ear pain in my left ear and wasn’t able to take the liquid pain meds I had to resort to Tylenol. So this could be why I have a lot of pain since I was unable to take the pain meds. If my tonsils weren’t toxic, I would have never had them removed. I have had other surgeries and bounce back really quick but this has kicked my butt. I am a fitness instructor and will not be able to work for another week. Good Luck to anyone whose going to tackle this surgery but I am told I will be thankful in the end.

Comment from: Moms Little Trooper, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 28

At 11months we decided to have our sons Adenoids removed. Anyone thinking of having this procedure done to your child please make sure a sleep study is preformed, so you can gage before and after results. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to give him any relief. At 3 years old we decided to have a sleep study done because his snoring and episodes of sleep apnea was really a cause of major concern for us and the school and family members he would sleep over. So we met with a Pediatric Pulmonologist, he set us up for a sleep study. Once results were ready it was determined our son had serve sleep apnea and he snored like a grown man. We then met with an E.N.T., base on the sleep study results and what was observed during the visit. She quickly set us for tonsillectomy. Immediately after surgery there was a noticeable difference; light snoring and there still was some evidence of sleep apnea. 8 hours post op no more sleep apnea; 4days post op no more snoring and no more apnea. I'm so happy; GOD IS AWESOME! Our son sleeps like a normal child no more odds looks and his sleeping will no longer be the topic of discussion!

Comment from: Olivia, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 27

I am 11 and am on day three of tonsillectomy. I though my pain level was going to be around 6. But at the moment it’s only around 3, but after reading these comments I feel like it’s going to get worse. But I’m really hoping for the best!

Comment from: Kris, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 29

I am 21 year old, 1 week post-tonsillectomy. All I can say is make sure you eat enough food. I struggled severely with eating due to the pain which then lead to dehydration, weakness, lightheadedness, and extreme nausea which only then exacerbated the issue. I also, embarrassingly enough, really slacked on my oral hygiene and only brushed my teeth maybe twice within the first week. Definitely brush your teeth at least twice a day. If you don't make the same mistakes I do, you will be just fine!

Comment from: Megra, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

Tonsillectomy is the worst pain I have ever had! The first 3 to 4 days were better than day 7! Have to hydrate all the time. Bring some water with you everywhere you go. And I suggest setting the alarm to drink and take pain medicines. Don't be a hero! I hope this was worth it.

Comment from: Becca, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

Tomorrow will be two weeks post-operation. Within 7 days I was able to eat soft food and talk again. The biggest thing for me was Cepacol throat drops and running a vaporizer while I slept. Also taking pain medicines on time. Jell-O and soup broth are pretty much the extent of the good that isn't painful to eat. If I had to do it again I would because I stay so sick, so often with chronic strep.

Comment from: LoudSnorer, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 27

I’m 24 years old and had my tonsillectomy and pharyngoplasty just this January 20, 2014. It was a lot of pain, ranging 8 out of 10, and I was worried because I still snore a lot. I hope this is just because of my swollen palate and uvula.

Comment from: lmgst15, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

I am a 24-year-old female who had a tonsillectomy done. I'm not sure if I should consider this day two or three of post-op, but regardless this hasn't been that bad of a recovery so far. After surgery, I was a little bit sick from the anesthesia and of course my throat was sore. Once I got home, I drank water and ate mashed potatoes.

Comment from: Hadley, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 17

I'm 20 years old and about 19 days post-op. When I was looking up different blogs before getting the surgery I got very nervous. I've had tonsillitis many times and then mono really ruined them, but I was afraid this surgery was going to be worse than all of them. I can honestly say that it was totally worth it and isn't as painful as I was expecting. It is really important to stay on top of the meds and know that the most painful days are 5-8. I wasn't able to take my pain meds for very long because they upset my stomach, so I took Advil and Tylenol every 6 hours consistantly and it was okay. My worst day was day 5 where I was one of the 1-3% of the people who had post-op bleeding. I think this is because I woke up and my throat was too dry. My suggestion is to remain calm! Try not to swallow the blood (to avoid vomiting) and gargle ice water. I also called my doctor and unless it is a very large amount of blood he said it would most likely stop on its own, and it did. Looking back I'm really glad I got the surgery and your body has so much immune system tissue it doesn't even need them if they are getting infected all the time! I hope this helps!

Comment from: samantha p, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

ive had problems with strep throat and tonsillitis my entire life, getting sick approximately every 2 months. im 30 years old and my doctor finally referred me for surgery. im in day 4 of recovery and it hurts so much! day one was painful but being in the hospital and having morphine was great. day 2 was so painful i had to go to see my surgeon to get a prescription for percocet. tylenol 3s with codeine just were not cutting it for me. the percocet works great but i can only take it once a day before bed (i have little ones at home). day 3, pain seemed to taper off and was able to eat actual food! day 4, my ears feel like theyre throbbing, i also noticed the scabs are starting to fall off and its very painful. my throat feels like a big open wound at the moment. lots of ice cold drinks to bring down swelling, even an ice pack for the throat can help. anti-inflammatory medication and steroids are also helping lol i just read that once the scabs start to fall off, that is the last pain i will feel from this. i really hope so. relief is near!! this is the most pain i have felt from any kind of medical procedure and the recovery is worse than the recovery from childbirth. well, for me anyways. good luck to anyone getting this done. as long as u have lots of ice and your pain medication you will do great :)

Comment from: Shanda, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

I am scheduled for my first-ever surgery this week and I am super scared. I have never had any form of surgery before and now I need a tonsillectomy. I'm not so much scared of the procedure but just being put to sleep. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Comment from: 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I am a 24-year-old female and needed my tonsils out because of strep, tonsillitis, and mono. I am on day two, and I will say it does hurt, but not near as bad as I thought it was going to. I am taking my pain medicine regularly and resting and eating as much as I can. I heard potato soup is very good because it goes down smooth and is very filling. I would advise, however, not to look at your throat after the surgery. I made that mistake, and it almost made me throw up.

Comment from: nadia, 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 05

My daughter needed adenoidectomy and her tonsils were very big, the doctor advised to remove them.

Comment from: RosGirard, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 21

I am a 49 year old female with strep 3-6 times a year. So, I bit the bullet and scheduled my surgery for May. I am scared as hell because of what I have read. How does one keep the scabs from falling off too early causing bleeding, just one fear, there are many others!

Comment from: 7-12 (Caregiver) Published: March 19

My 11 year old son is on day 5 post op for tonsils and adenoids removal. The hardest part for him is the swallowing. He still has trouble swallowing but fortunately is able to take small sips of Gatorade every 10 minutes. That has helped keep his energy up. He doesn't want to eat anything I offer. Thank goodness for Gatorade or we probably would have ended up in the ER for IV fluids. He slept through the night on day 4. He's lost some weight. He states a pain level of 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 when he swallows. That's with pain med Tylenol with codeine that he takes every 4 hours as needed. And he has needed it every 4 hours. I'm just counting down the days when my son can be his old self again. Good news is, he's not snoring loud like he used to.

Published: December 28

My son was 21 months when we decided to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. It was the best decision. My pediatrician and ENT both said that he needed it, but based on his age they were concerned. He did GREAT! What a difference it has made! He's no longer snoring like an adult, or having sleep apnea. He can finally breathe through his nose! It's been 2 weeks since the surgery, and I already can tell a huge difference!

Comment from: dramageek, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: December 20

I am getting my tonsils taking out on Thursday. I was getting really nervous about it until I read all the stories about how well people do during recovery. I have had two surgeries before this one, and I haven't needed to take much pain meds. And the anesthesia never once made me sick. Thanks for all the encouraging posts!

Comment from: billyw, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: December 19

I am a 29 year old male, had the surgery seven days ago. The first few days were not that bad. Then it got worse. Still only eating room temp food like soup and sherbet ice cream. Pain meds work good but make me feel sick to my stomach. Pain feels like having dry sockets when you have wisdom teeth removed. I did try eating some baked fish and it went okay. Fish is a natural anti-inflammatory food. Trying anything to heal faster. I do think that it will be worth it once I am fully recovered. Trying to remain positive. God Bless.

Comment from: Marian10, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 30

I am on day six; and everyday it tends to just get worse and worse; I am throwing up blood I am in an extreme amount of pain; also both ears hurt really bad and have had a constant headache for the last 3 days.

Comment from: rmills3600, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I needed a tonsillectomy and adnoidectomy because I kept getting strep, tonsilitis, and mono. I will have to say the first 4 days were not too bad. I am on day 5 now and it seems to be getting worse. I have been in alot of pain today and my throat is really swollen. The doctor called me in some steroids but I cannont take them because they make my heart race and keeep me awake. I am very curious to see how this goes.

Comment from: 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 01

I am a 22 year old woman who had my tonsils taken out 6 days ago and I feel like death. I thought ok I can do this I have been through child birth and a thyroid surgery so this would be a walk in the park but boy was I wrong!!! I have not eaten anything in 7days except water powerade and icee's oh and cold cold ice tea! I am now taking my meds every 8 hours instead of 4 so that’s good, but this will knock you on your butt!

Comment from: Cassie, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 16

My 3 year old and 5 year old had their tonsils removed about 1 month ago and guess what I'm about to go through the same thing. I'm 26 years old and I'm scared to death of the surgery thing I watched them go through it and it was very hard to keep them eating and drinking. I have to have surgery tomorrow Feb 17 because my tonsils are an emergency tonsillectomy. They are very enlarged and are affecting my breathing and swallowing right now. I'm wondering does it get easier for an adult to have a tonsillectomy or for a child to have one.

Comment from: Anna, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 10

I am a 49 year old female. It's day two out of surgery and yes painful but tolerable drinking lots of water eating soft stuff I keep a bit of chewing gum in my month all the time as it helps to keep my mouth hydrated. Fingers crossed I don’t get that later stage increased pain.

Comment from: ryahbri01, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I am a 40 year old. I am on day 6 from having my tonsils out. I had to stay overnight because of my breathing and other health issues. This is the worst pain than having a baby natural. The pain wakes me up in the middle of night, with crying, rocking and praying. I have called the answering machine so many times to see if what I’m experiencing is normal. I’m trying very hard to drink something every 15 minutes. Felt better yesterday than today, the scabs are falling off. I wish I had gotten this done when I was much younger, just trying to hold on.

Comment from: Evenflow11, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

Nervous. I am a 32 year old male with a pathetic threshold for the idea of surgery. I had a peritonsillar abscess which was the worst pain of my life. I had to have it drained which required a visit to the ER, a scalpel and needles in the back of my throat. Doc says there is a 15-25 percent chance it will happen again. I hope that the pain after surgery is not as bad as that. I read all of the stories and hope I have a positive experience with favorable results. I will post my story once I have the surgery.