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Patient Information

Prior to the Procedure:

  • Do not give your child any aspirin or medicines with aspirin if they are less than 18 years old.
  • Nothing by mouth after midnight the night before surgery.
  • If your child takes medications, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medications about which ones to take and which ones that should not be taken until after the procedure.
  • If your child becomes ill up to five days before surgery, please call the ENT office and tell the nurse about his/her symptoms.

Day of Your Procedure:

  • Plan to arrive two hours before your surgery time for pre-operative procedures.
  • The anesthesiologist will discuss types of anesthesia with you and answer any questions you have.
  • Your child will be taken into the operating room and be given general anesthesia by the anesthesiology team.
  • The tonsils and/or adenoids will be removed through the patient's mouth. There are no external incisions.

After the Procedure:

  • Your child will be taken to the recovery room.
  • You will be called back to the recovery room to sit with your child until he/she is fully awake. Your child may go home at this point.
  • Your child's surgeon will update you on how the procedure went.
  • At home your child may experience pain which can fluctuate during recovery. It may even increase on day five.
  • Take pain medications as prescribed.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. No sodas or acidic fruit drinks.
  • Get lots of rest. Most children miss 5-10 days of school.
  • You may see a white covering in your child’s throat. This is normal.
  • Keep your child’s follow-up appointment.

Contact your provider if your child experiences the following:

  • A fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Difficulty swallowing liquids.
  • Nausea and vomiting that occurs more than three times after the first 12 hours since the procedure.
  • A small amount of bleeding. Limited to one occurrence.

Seek care immediately in the ER if your child has these symptoms:

  • Bleeding that does not stop in 5 minutes. A large amount of blood on patient's pillow during the night.
  • Signs and symptoms of dehydration: Patient has not urinated at least twice in a 12 hour period, lethargy, not taking in any fluids.
  • Sudden onset of severe pain

FAQs for Tonsillectomy

What does the procedure involve?

Under general anesthesia, the ENT will perform the surgery through the child’s mouth. There are no external incisions made during the procedure. The tonsils and adenoids are cauterized with a specialized tool that completely removes both tonsils and seals the wound. The entire procedure takes about 60 minutes, and most children go home the same day.

How many incisions are made?

The tonsils and adenoids are cauterized. No cuts are actually made.

How long does my child stay in the hospital?

This is normally an outpatient procedure, and your child will most likely go home the same day.

What is the recovery time?

Your child will recover within two weeks. However, they must avoid certain activities and eat a modified diet to ensure that the surgical site heals properly. There is a risk for bleeding, so it is important that patients remain calm, eat a cool, soft diet and do not lift heavy objects.

Please call our office at 919-350-3277 during business hours Monday – Thursday, 8 am to 5 pm with questions or concerns. After hours or on the weekends, please contact the on-call doctor by calling 919-350-8000 and asking to page the ENT doctor on call.