Tonsillectomy - Risks and Complications

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

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What are the risks and complications of tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy?

The patient's surgery will be performed safely and with care in order to obtain the best possible results. The surgery may involve risks of unsuccessful results, complications, or injury from both known and unforeseen causes. Because individuals differ in their response to surgery, their anesthetic reactions, and their healing outcomes, ultimately there can be no guarantee made as to the results or potential complications. Furthermore, surgical outcomes may be dependent on preexisting or concurrent medical conditions.

The following complications have been reported in the medical literature. This list is not meant to be inclusive of every possible complication. They are listed here for your information only, not to frighten you, but to make you aware and more knowledgeable concerning this surgical procedure. Although many of these complications are rare, all have occurred at one time or another in the hands of experienced surgeons practicing the standard of community care. Anyone who is contemplating surgery must weigh the potential risks and complications against the potential benefits of the surgery or any alternative to surgery.

  1. Failure to alleviate every episode of sore throat, or resolve subsequent or concurrent ear or sinus infections/nasal drainage. Possible need for additional surgery.
  2. Bleeding. In very rare situations there may be a need for blood products or a blood transfusion. The patient has the right, should he/she choose, to have autologous or designated donor directed blood prepared in advance in case an emergency transfusion was necessary. Patients are encouraged to consult with a doctor if they are interested in this option.
  3. Infection, dehydration, prolonged pain, and/or impaired healing that could lead to the necessity for hospital admission for fluids and/or pain control.
  4. A permanent change in voice or nasal regurgitation (rare).
  5. Failure to improve the nasal airway or resolve snoring, sleep apnea, or mouth breathing.
Return to Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Surgical Instructions

See what others are saying

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.

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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.

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