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Tonsillectomy In Children


What is a tonsillectomy?

A tonsillectomy is surgery to remove your child's tonsils. Tonsils are 2 large lumps of tissue in the back of your child's throat. Your child's tonsils may need to be removed if he has frequent throat infections or trouble breathing during sleep.

How should my child prepare for a tonsillectomy?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your child's surgery. He will tell him not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of his surgery. He will tell you what medicines your child should or should not take on the day of his surgery.

What will happen during a tonsillectomy?

Your child will be given general anesthesia to keep him asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your child will be also given medicine before his surgery to help prevent nausea and vomiting. The surgeon will place tools inside your child's mouth to keep it open. He will then cut all or part of your child's tonsils away from the surrounding tissue. His surgeon will stop any bleeding from the areas where the tonsils were removed.

What will happen after a tonsillectomy?

Your child may need to stay in the hospital overnight if he is younger than 3 years. He may also need to stay overnight if has breathing or other health problems. Your child will have throat pain that may last up to 2 weeks. His throat pain will be worse in the morning. This pain may spread to his ears. It may hurt for your child to swallow, and he may not feel like eating or drinking. He will need to drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. Your child will have white patches in the back of his throat. These are scabs that will fall off after about a week.

What are the risks of a tonsillectomy?

Your child may bleed more than expected during or after surgery, or get an infection. He may also have swelling in his mouth, throat, or lungs that makes it hard to breathe. Your child may have nausea and vomiting after surgery. Your child may have changes in his voice or sense of taste after surgery. Tools used to remove your child's tonsils may cause injury to his teeth, voice box, or palate. Tools that use heat or a laser to remove his tonsils can cause a burn. Your child's tonsils could grow back after surgery.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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