Tonsillectomy in adults

Tonsillectomy in an adult is an operation that allows you to solve the problem of recurrent pharyngitis, sleep apnea or bad breath. Removal of the tonsils is a relatively simple procedure, but it is associated with a significant percentage of complications. Here are the most important information about tonsillectomy in adults.

A tonsillectomy in an adult is an operation that allows you to solve the problem of recurrent pharyngitis, sleep apnea, or bad breath. The removal of the tonsils is a relatively simple procedure, but it is associated with a significant percentage of complications. Here is the most important information about tonsillectomy in adults.

The palatine tonsils are groups of lymphatic tissue that are in the pharynx between the palatine arches on the right and left sides. They are part of the mucosal immune system. Along with the lingual tonsil and the third tonsil (the pharyngeal tonsil), they make up what is called Waldeyer’s ring. So, the tonsils’ job is to find pathogens (like viruses, bacteria, and fungi) and get the body to make more immune cells. But they don’t have to be there for the immune system to work right. Tonsils have to be taken out (tonsillectomy) sometimes to keep people healthy. This procedure can be done on both children and grown-ups.

Tonsillectomy in adults – indications

The most common reasons for tonsillectomy in adults are recurrent tonsillitis (angina) and complications like peritonsillar abscess. The procedure is also done if the tonsils are too big and block the airway, if you have sleep apnea, or if you think you might have cancer in your tonsils (e.g. when the tonsils are asymmetrical). When tonsil stones cause bad breath, surgery is sometimes the only way to get rid of them.

How is tonsillectomy performed in adults?

Adult tonsillectomy resembles child tonsillectomy. It is done through the mouth without incisions. Physicians have several surgical methods. Electrocoagulation, laser, or scalpel can remove tonsils. General anaesthesia is used for the 40-60-minute surgery. Simple. Anesthesia keeps the patient unconscious. Local anaesthetic allows tonsillectomy.

Tonsillectomy in adults – how long does it take to recover

Tonsillectomy wounds heal in 2–3 weeks. Tonsillectomy recovery is harder for adults than children. Many tonsillectomy patients have weakness, lethargy, and acute pain after returning home. Some feel worse in the days after the surgery, which is typical and does not always indicate difficulties. Of course, you should report alarming signs like high temperature, growing pain, or severe bleeding to the doctor.



Possible complications after tonsillectomy in an adult

Tonsillectomy in adults is a relatively simple procedure, but despite this, it is associated with a fairly high rate of complications. Belong to them:

  • pain  – can last up to 2 weeks,
  • bleeding – is a common complication, sometimes requires re-treatment, may occur up to 10-14 days after surgery, 
  • dehydration – occurs due to difficulty swallowing after surgery,
  • injuries in the oral cavity – tonsillectomy may be associated with minor damage to the surrounding tissues,
  • voice change – occurs very rarely,
  • hoarseness ,
  • nausea and vomiting ,
  • abnormal healing ,
  • wound infection .

Recommendations after tonsillectomy in adults

  • Rest for the first 2-3 days after surgery. As your strength and well-being improve, you can gradually return to your daily activities.
  • Drink fluids regularly. It is very important to drink plenty of fluids in the first days after surgery to prevent dehydration and aid recovery. Avoid caffeine as it is a diuretic
  • Follow the dietary recommendations : liquid and semi-liquid food for the first week after the procedure. Food cannot be hot, sour, spicy, preferably as neutral as possible. Solid products are introduced gradually over successive weeks. You can start with such meals as cream soups, yoghurts, scrambled eggs, ground dishes.  
  • Take medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Avoid heat, physical exertion and heavy lifting.