Top of the page
A tonsillectomy is surgery to remove the tonsils. Sometimes the adenoids are removed during the same surgery. The tonsils and adenoids are in the throat. Your doctor did the surgery through your mouth.
Most adults have a lot of throat pain for 1 to 2 weeks or longer. The pain may get worse before it gets better. The pain in your throat can also make your ears hurt.
You may have good days and bad days. Most people find that they have the most pain in the first 8 days. You probably will feel tired for 1 to 2 weeks. You may have bad breath for up to 2 weeks.
You may be able to go back to work or your usual routine in 1 to 2 weeks.
There will be a white coating in your throat where the tonsils were. The coating is like a scab. It usually starts to come off in 5 to 10 days. It is usually gone in 10 to 16 days. You may see some blood in your spit as the coating comes off.
After surgery, you may snore or breathe through your mouth at night. This usually gets better 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Mouth breathing can make your mouth and throat dry or sore. Place a humidifier by your bed when you sleep. This may make it easier for you to breathe. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.
At first, your voice may sound different. Your voice probably will get back to normal in 2 to 6 weeks.
It's common for people to lose weight after this surgery. That's because it can hurt to swallow food at first. As long as you drink plenty of liquids, this is okay. You will probably gain the weight back when you can eat normally again.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter X297 in the search box to learn more about "Tonsillectomy: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.