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The tonsils are two pads of tissue located on either side of the back of the throat. Tonsils can become enlarged in response to recurrent tonsil infections or strep throat.
They can also become a reservoir for bacteria.
InfectionRecurrent tonsil infections or strep throat despite treatment with antibiotics.Upper Airway ObstructionEnlarged tonsils can block the airway and cause trouble breathing.
Recurrent tonsil infections or strep throat despite treatment with antibiotics.
Enlarged tonsils can block the airway and cause trouble breathing.
Avoid the following medicines and products before surgery.
For two weeks before surgery do not give:
For one week before surgery do not give:
Avoid the following medicines for two weeks after surgery:
Your child may take ibuprofen or medicines containing ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) after the surgery.
It takes most children 7 – 10 days to recover from a tonsillectomy. Some children feel better in just a few days and some children take as many as 14 days to recover.
Snoring and mouth breathing are normal after surgery because of swelling. Normal breathing should resume 10 – 14 days after surgery.
A membrane or scab forms where the tonsils were removed. This looks like two separate scabs or sometimes the whole back of the throat is scabbed. The scabs are thick and white and cause bad breath. This is normal. The scabs usually fall off a little at a time 5 – 10 days after surgery and are swallowed.
If there is any bleeding at all from the mouth or nose go immediately to Cincinnati Children’s Emergency Department at the Main Campus to be seen by the ENT doctor on call. Do not go to Liberty Campus or Urgent Care as there are no ENT doctors there. Bleeding usually means the scabs have fallen off too early and this needs immediate attention. Every reasonable attempt will be made to control the bleeding in the Emergency Department. Some children need to be taken to the Operating Room to control the bleeding.
If tonsils are very large, the sound of the voice may be different after surgery.
Some children have nausea and vomiting from the general anesthetic. This should stop within a few hours. Call the office nurse if nausea and vomiting continues for more than 12 – 24 hours.
A low grade fever is normal for a few days after surgery and acetaminophen (Tylenol) should be given every 4 – 6 hours. Call the office nurse if your child's temperature is over 102° F.
An ice collar to the neck, warmth to the ear and jaw, chewing gum and a humidifier in your child’s room may also help relieve pain. If at any time, your child shows symptoms of severe drowsiness or other concerning behaviors, call the office nurse immediately.
The most important part of recovery is to drink plenty of fluids. Some children do not want to drink because of pain. Offer and encourage fluids every hour or so while awake, such as juice, soft drinks, popsicles and Jell-O. Milk products such as pudding, yogurt and ice cream may be offered. Some children may have a small amount of liquid come out of the nose when drinking. This should stop a few weeks after surgery. Please call the office nurse if there are concerns that your child is not drinking enough or if there are signs of dehydration (urination less than 2 –3 times per day, crying but no tears). For children who refuse to drink and who are showing signs of dehydration, go to Cincinnati Children’s Emergency Department at the Main Campus for evaluation. Do not go to Liberty Campus or Urgent Care.
Children can return to their normal diet after surgery. The sooner they begin to eat and chew, the quicker the recovery. Many children may not want to eat because of pain. As long as your child is drinking well, don’t worry about eating. Many children are not interested in eating for at least a week after surgery. Some children lose weight, but gain it back when a normal diet is resumed.
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