Intracapsular tonsillectomy - My Experience
I'm writing this because I had a hard time finding first person accounts from individuals that had the intracapsular tonsillectomy, so hopefully this will help someone in the future prepare a little better if they must have this surgery. Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor. Anything I say in this post is my opinion / experience only and should not be taken as medical advice. This post is meant to give the reader a better idea of what the recovery process is like for the partial tonsillectomy surgery.
Some background information: I'm a 27 year old male, in pretty good physical condition (workout 5-6 days per week). I've always had issues with my tonsils -- Lots of strep throat infections when I was younger and ever since I can remember I've had issues with tonsil stones.
Saw an ENT a few weeks ago and he suggested a intracapsular tonsillectomy (aka partial tonsillectomy). This is where they remove the majority of the tonsils, but leave about 10% of the base tonsil tissue so they don't harm the throat muscles. This is supposed to greatly reduce the recovery time.
The ENT acknowledged that there would be some pain, but said that compared to a traditional tonsillectomy, it would be MUCH less painful and recovery is much faster.
DAY 1 - Got to the surgery center early and was extremely nervous. The nurses were laughing because I almost passed out while they were trying to get the IV in my arm. Now that I have been through it, I know there was nothing to be afraid of -- they gave me some relaxing drugs prior to wheeling me in to the operating room, so the last thing I remember is them wheeling me in the door of the OR -- next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. Immediately after surgery they gave me some ice water and there was some discomfort in my throat, but nothing major. A little difficult to talk. I went home, took my pain meds, drank as much water as I could, and slept the rest of the day.
DAY 2 - Pain was a little more severe on this day (5/10) but the doctor warned me that the pain will get worse for the first few days before it begins to get better. I was able to eat some scrambled eggs with light maple syrup -- this was delicious and the syrup helped the eggs slide down easy.
DAY 3 - I woke up to some serious pain (7/10). After getting some fluids and a dose of my pain meds down, the pain was much less intense. I was only supposed to take 5ml Roxicet every 4 hours, but the pain was getting really bad in the evening and I started to get the chills and a mild fever (100). I called the 24-hour emergency number to get info on whether or not I should be concerned about my chills / fever... The doc that took my call wasn't concerned about the fever and said it was normal. But they did say I could double my pain meds by taking 5ml Roxicet every 2 hours if I absolutely need it. This additional dose really helped releave some of the pain, although it makes me a bit nauseated. I have found that the nausea caused by the Roxicet can be alleviated by two things: 1) eating a little food prior to taking a dose and 2) lay down -- for some reason, sitting and standing made the nausea worse for me, but about 2 minutes after laying down, I felt much better.
DAY 4 - Waking up in the morning seems to be the most painful time of the day. The most helpful thing to do is to drink water or gatorade to moisten the throat. Drinking is very painful, but you must drink as much as you can because in the long run it will help you feel better. By mid afternoon, I was feeling pretty decent. My pain was at a manageable level and I decided to have a wendy's frosty and a cheeseburger with each bite dipped in frosty (i know it sounds gross, but it was really delicious). Once the pain meds wore off, I paid for eating that delicious burger, because it was a bit rough on my throat. So for dinner I stuck with Jello. Pain today was manageable while on pain meds (3/10) but off the pain meds, it was probably (6/10).
DAY 5 - My doc said that I would likely be ready to return to work by day 6, but I'm still feeling like I was yesterday -- the pain is only manageable while on the pain meds, which make me really sleepy and loopy. Luckily I work from home so I can try to work and if I need to take the day off, it's not a big deal. (Day 5 update: I ended up taking a half day today because I had to take my pain meds and then it made me too tired to be productive).
DAY 6 - Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Without any pain meds, my throat pain is 3/10. Was able to work a full day today and eat a sloppy joe, pudding, jello, and some soft cookies without too much discomfort. I've been pretty ravenously hungry -- probably from not eating very much during the first 4 days post op. Planning on having some shells n' cheese tonight for dinner.
After almost 6 days, i'm probably 85% better. Which, from what I've read, is about half the recovery period of a traditional tonsillectomy. Until i'm 100% better, I won't really be able to tell if my tonsil stone issues have been resolved, but i'm hopeful. I will update again in a week or so to let you know about the tonsil stone situation.
Last edited by VRay; 06-20-2013 at 05:01 PM.