Tonsillectomy Scabs: All You Need To Know

Tonsillectomy scabs are thick yellow-white patches that forms after tonsillectomy. Tonsils are your body’s immune system that help to fight against viruses and bacteria that enter the mouth. Because the tonsils are the first defense agents, they are susceptible to inflammation and infection (Tonsillitis).

Tonsillitis can also occur when the body’s immune system decline after puberty although this happens in rare cases. When there are frequent, recurring episodes of tonsillitis (at least seven times in the preceding year, at least five episodes a year in the past two years and at least three episodes a year in the past three years), tonsillectomy is recommended.

Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of tonsils which comprises of two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat. Apart from being used to treat infected and inflamed tonsillitis, there are other reasons why the procedure is done.


(1) It can be used to treat bleeding of the tonsils or bleeding from the blood vessels near the surface of the tonsils
(2) To treat complications of enlarged tonsils.
(3) The procedure is also done to treat bad breath that is related to debris in the crevices of tonsils
(4) To remove cancerous tissue (malignancy) in one or both tonsils or suspected malignancy.
(5) Tonsillectomy is also done if antibiotic treatment does not improve the bacteria infection of the tonsils.
(6)The procedure can also be used when medications and drainage treatment do not reduce the collection of pus behind a tonsil (tonsillar abscess).
(7) A tonsillectomy is usually performed for sleep-disordered breathing.

Tonsillectomy is usually done in adults to correct and improve breathing difficulties in those with enlarged tonsils causing sleep apnea or disorder. Tonsillectomy is also done in children most times to correct breathing difficulties associated with sleep apnea (American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery) and about 20 percent of tonsillectomies in children are done because of repeated infections.


Tonsillectomy scabs are thick, yellow-white coagulum or patches that forms after a tonsillectomy, they are part of the healing process. They protect the wound from dirt and microbes and reduced the risk of infection. They form quickly after the procedure and is found one on each side on top of the small amounts of tonsil tissue leftover from your surgery.

Tonsillectomy scabs forms a day or two after the surgery and can cause bad breath, they can develop immediately you stop bleeding. Apart from the scab formation, you can also feel ear pain, headache, fever, swelling in the throat, nausea feeling or vomiting, minor bleeding usually in the saliva and fever.
The scabs may fall off over the course of 5 to 10 days during your recovery period. According to ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists, recovery time can range anywhere from one to two weeks.


After tonsillectomy, the tonsillectomy scabs forms after a day or two and can fall off between 5 to 10 days after surgery. Most times, they fall off in small pieces without warning, you can feel a sharp pain frequently as the scab falls off while in some people, there is no pain. The first sign that shows your scabs are breaking up is that you start bleeding in small amounts. The bleeding should not be of much concern as it is part of the recovery process.


Bleeding is normal as your scabs start falling off, the amount of blood in this case is very small as you can notice just the flecks of red blood in your saliva and can change your taste to a metallic taste. If this happens, you can apply a pack of ice over your neck to help with the bleeding and at the same time reduced the pain.

After the surgery, as part of post care instructions, your doctor will tell you the amount of blood that is considered normal. If the blood is bright red and continues in this color for a long time, you should see your surgeon as it is an emergency.

The bleeding is supposed to start when your scabs start falling off and the scabs is expected to fall off after 5 days. When the scabs fall off prematurely, bleeding starts. You should see your surgeon for emergency care.


Just like the falling off of the covering that protects the skin after an injury is painful, scab removal or falling off is painful too. The pain can be mild or severe so it is advised bthat you get pain relief to reduce the pain you feel.


During the first and the second day, the effects of anaesthesia used during the procedure may still be present. You may also feel tired, it is normal too. The scabs will start to form now and you may experience bad breath. Difficulty in speaking and eating may also be experienced as the throat is likely to be sore and swollen.


  • Low grade fever of up to 101°F
  • Vomiting or nauseous feeling
  • Mild bleeding 
  • Headache
  • Ear pain

It is advised that you do not speak too much to avoid bleeding or more pain. Resting will also help with the headache. Drinking lots of water as well as eating only soft foods and liquid meals is encouraged.

One is also advised to avoid spicy foods, hot, acidic, hard, or crunchy foods for a few days to avoid irritating the throat and causing pain. Do not take milk products, such as ice cream and yogurt, for 24 hours after surgery.


(1) 3–4 Days

You can experience more pain, in fact , the pain may become worse than it was in the first 2 days following surgery. Post-surgical pain most commonly occurs in the throat and ears, but it can also affect the neck and jaw. Continuous use of ice pack on the neck and jaw can help reduce the pain. Soft foods should be taken and lots of fluids.

(2) 5–10 Days

The pain should become lesser than before and the scabs should start falling at this period. You will also experience mild bleeding in the saliva. If the bleeding is more than normal or bright red, it can mean an emergency, you should see your doctor. You can introduce more foods to your diet as swallowing and eating will become more comfortable.

(3) 10 days and above

 The pain will continue to reduce and you will feel much better. You can go back to your normal activities like begin eating their regular diet again, sleep through the night and come off pain medication. As the swelling reduces, you can stop breathing with the mouth. 


(1) Few days after the surgery, you can feel pain which may be mild or serious depending on how long after the surgery. You can get over the counter pain relief medicines to help with the pain. Talk to your doctor before taking any medicine as some medicines like ibuprofen (Advil) may cause bleeding.

(2) Placing ice packs on your neck or chewing on ice chips can help alleviate a sore throat.

(3) Take enough fluids like water , juices or drinks to keep you hydrated.

(4) Avoid hot, spicy or crunchy foods as they will irritate your throat and make you feel more pain.

(5) Colder foods such as popsicles, ice cream, or sherbet may also be taken as they are comforting.

(6)Take enough rest for at least 48 hours, limit every activities and give your body enough rest.

(7) You can chew sugarless gum as it may help speed recovery after surgery.

(8) Do not blow your nose for at least one week after the surgery to avoid bleeding.

(9) Cough or sneeze with an open mouth.


Just like every surgical procedures, there may be chances of a complication occurring, this may differ in different persons. Some of the risks are:

 (1) Pain: The pain can be severe and make you uncomfortable, it can last for 7-14 days and sometimes last up to 3 weeks. The pain can affect the ear, jaw, throat and neck. You will not be able to swallow food easily so liquid is advised to be taken.

(2) Scarring: There can be scars from the surgical procedure, if the scar is present, sleep apnea or blockage of the nasal passages will continue.

(3) Change in Voice: Removal of the tonsils can change how the voice resonance. This is because the removal of these large structures can lead to more room in the mouth/throat.

(4) Numbness of tongue : To avoid getting in the way during surgery, the tongue is retracted. This is temporary and the effects can last for some time after the surgery.

(5) Damage to Teeth : There may be injury to the teeth during the surgery in most times.

(6) Fever : A low-grade fever is not uncommon for the first week after surgery. Taking enough fluids and medications can help reduce the fever.

(7) Bleeding: Bleeding is normal after the scab comes off but the blood is in little amounts. In most cases, the bleeding may become serious ans an emergency.


In this post titled “Tonsillectomy scabs”, we have discuss this topic exhaustively. Tonsillectomy is done to remove infected tonsils. One of the healing process is the scabs falling out. The scabs serve as cover against microbes. You should also expect bleeding but in small amounts. Adhere to instructions to avoid complications and other emergencies after surgery .

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