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Caring for your child after a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy

Your child will have a sore throat and dryness of the mouth but this will improve. Eating and drinking should resume and be encouraged as this will prevent debris from collecting, and help in recovery. The ‘pain killer’ given should be taken to relieve throat discomfort and the entire course of antibiotics to be completed.

The tonsillar beds at the back of the throat will have a whitish coating in the ensuing days of recovery. This is the normal appearance of a recovering wound in the mouth.

After the surgery, the child should avoid:

  • Acidic/citrus fruit juices such as orange or lime juice to prevent irritation of the throat
  • Use of hard objects in the mouth
  • Frequent coughing or clearing of the throat, as this may aggravate bleeding from the operative site
  • Physical exercise for a period of two weeks
  • Overcrowded places and smokers
  • Contact with people suffering from cough, colds and other infections

These precautions are advised to prevent a very small risk of bleeding from the tonsillar beds.

After your child is discharged

Oral hygiene should resume. Keeping your child on a soft diet for two to three days will help the wound to heal. Your child can revert to a normal diet after that. The child should stay at home for a week after the operation and may return to school after that. During this first week, encourage small sips of plain water frequently to keep the throat moist and clean.

Children age 12 and above should be encouraged to gargle their mouth after each meal to keep the throat clean.

Consult your doctor when :

  • Fever is higher than 38°C
  • There is a large amount of bleeding from the throat:
  • Excessive swallowing reflex
  • Vomitus
  • There is severe pain of the throat or ear not relieved by medication
  • Any prolonged/abnormal symptom(s) which may cause concern.

Follow-up appointment after a tonsillectomy / adenoidectomy

Usually a single post-operative follow-up date is given. Do keep the appointment with the doctor, as the follow-up care is important in preventing complications.

Ref: T12