Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy

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Risks of Surgery (brief summary)

There is a 1% risk of bleeding after Tonsillectomy or Adenoidectomy.  This often occurs 7-14 days after the surgery.  You should go to the nearest emergency department if this occurs.

With an adenoidectomy there is a chance that your child will have a hyper-nasal voice following surgery temporarily.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy can be quite painful.  Pain medication will be given for after the operation.


Before the operation:

2 weeks before the operation you should not take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. These include Motrin, Ibuprofen (Advil), Aspirin, Naproxen or any medications containing these drugs.  All herbal medications should also be avoided as they can interfere with normal blood clotting and anesthetic agents.

Patients will attend a pre-operative tour at the hospital where blood work and pre-operative testing will be done if any has been ordered.  If this is not attended and we are unable to contact you to confirm that you are still going ahead with your surgery, it will be cancelled.

Patients having this operation with symptoms of sleep apnea (the cessation of breathing during sleep) will likely be staying overnight after the operation as there is a greater chance of apnea after an anesthetic.  This will allow monitoring to ensure adequate oxygenation after surgery.


After the Operation:

After the tonsillectomy, there can be significant discomfort.  Diet should start with non-acidic liquids and soft foods.  Freezies, pudding, popsicles, Sorbet are good items to start with.  The patient should try to avoid drinking through a straw for two weeks following surgery, if possible.  As the throat heals the pain will reduce and the diet should be advanced accordingly. AT NO TIME SHOULD ASPIRIN BE TAKEN 2 WEEKS BEFORE OR AFTER SURGERY.

The first 2 night’s pain medication should be given every 4 hours.  This means waking up your child and giving it to them.  They should also be encouraged to drink at this time.  If they refuse to take medication by mouth, suppositories of Tylenol can also be used. If you have been given a prescription for Morphine, this should be mixed with liquid Tylenol, or Advil  and given at the same time.  Some children have abdominal discomfort with Morphine, and it may need to be stopped if not well tolerated. I recommend starting with the Advil or Tylenol for pain control and use the Morphine if needed.  Adults are generally given Percocet and Tylenol # 3 for pain management.  As pain decreases,  Advil, Motrin or Tylenol given for pain management. These can be given every four hours if needed.

Occasionally antibiotics are prescribed for adults undergoing tonsillectomy.  These can generally be taken as a liquid or a pill depending upon what your preference is.  Let the Pharmacist know what you prefer.

The pain is generally worse the first day following the surgery.  Each person recovers differently form this surgery.  Some children will take up to 3 weeks to fully recover while others are up and feeling well after 5-7 days. Ear pain is quite normal 5 days after surgery.  This is referred pain from the throat.  If the child is doing well and their pain begins to get worse 7-8 days after surgery, you should contact the office.

If there is any BLEEDING after surgery, you should bring your child (or yourself) to the closest emergency department.

Snoring often stops 7-21 says after the surgery in children who are having the operation for snoring with sleep apnea.

Return to school is 7 days after surgery if the patient is doing well.  Heavy lifting and strenuous physical activity should be avoided for at least 10 and preferably 14 days after surgery.

Follow up with Dr. Robichaud is only if needed.  If you have any concerns please contact the office and an appointment can be made as needed.