Patient Comments: Tonsillectomy - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with tonsillectomy.

Comment from: pdweasel, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 06

I had a tonsillectomy at age 22, and my experience wasn't very bad at all. I was anticipating it would be horrible, given everything I'd read, but it was definitely doable (not to mention worth it, after having had strep throat from September until December that year!). The surgeon gave me a prescription for Vicodin, which I filled but never took, as I found that staggering acetaminophen and ibuprofen doses worked well enough. The biggest problem was often waking up in pain, but I learned to avoid this by setting an alarm to go off periodically throughout the night so I'd get up and take medication on schedule or at least have something to drink. I found that drinking fluids and chewing gum helped a lot with pain and stiffness, I asked for ice chips when I was still in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) and started chewing gum straight away once they brought me back to my room. It hurt quite a bit at first, but the more you do it, the more things loosen up and the easier it gets. After about 3 days I was able to start eating "normal" food, and even though my surgery was on the 18 December, I was still able to enjoy Christmas dinner with my family on the 24th. The foods that I found most palatable were sorbet, mashed potatoes, popsicles, macaroni and cheese, and chicken noodle soups. Acidic foods such as fruit smoothies burned a lot, so I avoided those. I drank a lot of water, peppermint tea, and hot cocoa, as sports drinks like Gatorade burned too much. After a day or so I was able to manage coffee and soda, though by that point the caffeine withdrawal was worse than the throat pain. In all, the surgery was easily one of the best decisions I've made. it's been nearly a year now and I haven't had so much as a sore throat since! I was very apprehensive going into it, but in all it wasn't that bad. There were certainly times when it got frustrating and at times the pain got really annoying, but every day it improved.

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Comment from: Ouch, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 27

Before going into this, a friend had hers out and was down and out for a few weeks. I figured I can tolerate pain well and have been able to recover quickly from having my wisdom teeth removed fairly easily, other than waking up in the middle of the night because medications wore off. This tonsillectomy has definitely taken me the longest to recover from. I'm now on day 10 and came back to work today. On day 9, I threw up because I had nothing but Tylenol and liquids in me, luckily there was no blood, but I definitely saw the scabs in the toilet. Right after the puke, my throat felt amazing. But the next morning, it was super sensitive again and the last could of days it's been extra tough to eat anything again. Every time I eat, I get a pain, but only in one side, and it's unbearable. The pain goes from my throat up my jaw and into my ear. Now that I'm out of my T3s, and almost out of my numbing gargle medication, I fear that the next few days will be even worse. But they say it should take 10-14 days to recover. Things can only go up from here, and hopefully my strep throat days are over!

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Comment from: Liz, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I'm on day 8 post tonsillectomy and so far it has been a bit if a nightmare to be honest. The first two days were totally fine, painful, but I managed to eat a little and drink normally. Then on day 4 I had to go to the doctors because I was in agony and could barely get out of bed, I'd got an infection. Antibiotics started working really quickly and although I wasn't eating much I felt much better. Then day 7 I had a small bleed. I panicked. It's easy for people to tell you to stay calm but it really is terrifying. I rushed to my general physician who told me to stop worrying so much and that it was normal (not what my surgeon told me). I stopped it myself with ice water and an Ice pack on my neck. I felt much better the next day and you could barely see where the bleed had been. Then the next night I had a heavier bleed and spat out a couple of little clots of blood as I think it must have started when I was asleep. I called the NHS (National Health Service) helpline and they told me that if I stopped it then it was ok and just to visit the general physician again as soon as possible to get it checked out. So that was what I did and then the general physician had a go at me for not going straight to Accident & Emergency! It's like you can't win, and no matter what you do someone makes you feel like you're just wasting their time. Now I'm terrified of bleeding again, but I'm keeping very hydrated, even setting a regular alarm to go off during the night so that I can drink. This seems to help the most, and not talking too much too as this will make the wound weaker apparently. Anyway, I'm sure some people breeze through this, but there seem to be a lot of people who don't, and the worst thing is feeling like you're making a big deal out of nothing, because it really is painful and scary at times!

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Comment from: Jellybeans12, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

Tonsillectomy is the worst decision I have made. I found it unbearably painful, no painkillers can stop the pain. On day 4 post operation I bled and had to attend the emergency department via ambulance. I had to stay two nights for observation fasting and the care was not great. If I had the chance again I would not get it done. I'm on day 7 now and the pain wakes me at 2AM, 4AM and 6AM every morning. I'm limited on painkillers as the pain is so frequent.

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Comment from: PeanutStar, 3-6 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 31

My son had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on a Friday afternoon. That afternoon he acted like nothing happened. He ate plenty of soft foods, but getting liquids into him has been a challenge. Also by day 4 to 5 his breath smelled so bad I kept checking him to see if he had an uncontrolled bowel movement. He has woken up a few mornings crying in pain. During the day he is playing in the house and having fun. I think his throat was dry. I continued pain medicine and that helped when I woke him up first thing in the morning and it allowed him to sleep later in the morning and get some much needed rest.

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Tonsillectomy - Risks and Complications Question: What was the cause, risk, and complication of you needing a tonsillectomy?

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