Many adults experience complications after having their tonsils removed simply because an adult does not recover as rapidly from this type of operation as a young child, says About.com. Children also know how to take it easy after surgery and give themselves time to recuperate, according to the Chicago Tribune. Adults, eager to resume their usual activities or go back to work, do not allow themselves time to heal.
Also, adult tonsils have built up more scar tissue over the years and are simply tougher to remove, according to About.com. Because of this, the body experiences more trauma during an adult tonsillectomy.
Doctors believe that the recovery time for a child who has had a tonsillectomy is between five and seven days, while the recovery time for an adult can be as long as two weeks, says Tonsillectomy Recovery and Planning. Adults also seem to experience considerably more pain than children after the surgery, though some experts believe this is because children don't or can't express how much they are really hurting.
One week after tonsillectomy about 15 percent of adult patients complained of a complication, and this rose to 20 percent between two and four weeks after the surgery, claims Chicago Tribune. Most patients complained of pain or bleeding. A small percentage were dehydrated, possibly because it was too painful to even drink liquids.