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Helping Your Child After a Tonsillectomy

Helping Your Child After a Tonsillectomy

Once a common procedure done after a few rounds of tonsillitis, doctors more clearly recognize the role of the tonsils as a “first stage” of the immune system. Tonsillectomies occur less frequently now, reserved for cases where frequent infections occur or other treatments prove ineffective. 

It takes up to 14 days for your child to fully recover from tonsillectomy. It can be an uncomfortable time for them, but it’s an experience you can help them through with some planning and preparation. 

Choosing an experienced pediatric otolaryngology specialist like Dr. Scott Bateman at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat is the first step. Dr. Bateman can help you decide if surgery is the right treatment for your child. 

After surgery

Your role as parent caregiver starts soon after surgery is over. If your child is under the age of three, or if they have other medical considerations, they may have an overnight hospital stay. Otherwise, most children go home the day of surgery after an observation period in a recovery room. 

Vomiting is common for children emerging from general anesthetic, and you can help your child by summoning a nurse. They may only have small amounts of water in the first two hours after their procedure. 

Recovery at home

Your child’s throat will be very sore and raw after their tonsillectomy. They’ll probably have little appetite for the first few days. Despite their lack of interest in food, it’s important to maintain their fluid intake. Choose clear liquids like water, apple juice, and lemon-lime sodas. Plenty of liquids helps to reduce the fever that’s normally present for a few days after surgery. 

Reintroduce solid food as your child requests it. They can’t damage their throat by eating, despite how sore it may feel. They may tolerate cold foods like popsicles and ice cream when throat pain is at its worst. 

Limit activity for the first 48 hours after surgery. After that, encourage them to be up and about, returning to normal play as they can tolerate it. Limit strenuous activity and swimming for up to two weeks, or until Dr. Bateman gives the all-clear. Typically, children return to school between 7-10 days after surgery. 

Recurring pain

After surgery, the site where the tonsils were develops a white or gray film to protect the healing tissue. This may fall off about a week after surgery, and throat pain may get worse for about 24 hours. This is normal. Plenty of fluids combined with cold treats may help your child cope. 

Pain medication

Use only the medications, combinations, and dosages that Dr. Bateman recommends. This includes both prescription and non-prescription products. The combination of pain medications and altered diet may make your child prone to constipation through their recovery time. 

The good news is that the frequent sore throats from tonsillitis will disappear after the recovery from tonsillectomy. For most children, surgery may well be forgotten in two weeks. 

Consult with Dr. Bateman and his team at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat for tonsillitis treatment and tonsillectomy. You can contact the office by phone or the online appointment link on this page. Call today to book your visit. 

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