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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Metallic taste in mouth after tonsillectomy

03/17/2006

Question:

Hi I am a 29 year old female who had tonsil surgery on March 1,2006. It has been two weeks since the surgery and I have this awful metallic taste in my mouth when I eat or drink anything and it hasn`t went away. Nothing tastes good it just tastes like I am chewing on metal. Is this ever going to dissipate?

Answer:

A bad taste or loss of taste can sometimes occur after a tonsillectomy.  This most likely is a result of 1) trauma to one of the nerves that provide taste sensation, since it is located deep to the base of the tonsil, or 2) pressure from a mouth gag that holds the mouth open during the surgery.

In most cases, the taste problem resolves, but it may take several weeks to several months, and maybe even longer.  There's not much to do but wait, but be reassured that it probably will improve.

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati