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Preparing for Your Child’s Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy, Southern ENT Associates, southeast Louisiana

Located at the back of the throat, the tonsils are part of the body’s lymphatic system. They trap and filter bacteria and viruses to help prevent infection. While tonsils are useful, some children experience repeated infections or other problems with their tonsils that necessitate removing them.

If your child is scheduled for a tonsillectomy, good preparation is key to help to ensure that things go smoothly. And at Southern ENT Associates, we want your child’s surgery to go smoothly. Here’s how you can help.

Explain to your child what will happen

Children who know what to expect tend to experience less anxiety about undergoing a tonsillectomy. To prepare, explain to your child that they will be asleep while the surgeon takes out their tonsils. Let your child know that they will have a sore throat when they wake up and will drink cool beverages to feel better.

Your child may have questions about the procedure. Answering your child’s questions in an age-appropriate manner helps put them at ease. Books about hospitals and surgery appropriate for your child’s level of understanding can be extremely helpful.

Follow pre-surgery instructions

Pre-surgery instructions from your child’s doctor help ensure the success of the surgery. The surgeon may instruct you to stop giving your child food or liquids at a certain time the day before surgery. You may receive additional instructions, such as not giving your child aspirin or ibuprofen starting two weeks prior to surgery. These medications can increase bleeding risk.

Plan post-surgery diet

Your child will likely go home the same day as the tonsillectomy. They will need care for roughly a week or two after the procedure. Your child’s surgeon provides post-surgery dietary guidelines. Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of pain or complications.

In general, it’s recommended that you give your child a soft diet. Applesauce, mashed potatoes, soft pasta, and clear soup or broth are some good examples.

While ice cream may seem soothing, it’s best to avoid dairy, especially if your child has some nausea. Your surgeon may also instruct you to avoid giving your child foods that may cause irritation, including food or drinks rich in citric acid.

Manage pain

Following surgery, it’s perfectly normal for your child to experience a sore throat. You can expect the pain to get worse before it gets better. Plan to manage your child’s pain with approved pain medication. The doctor provides instructions on what medication to give your child to manage pain and how often to administer the medication.

Following these instructions will help keep your child comfortable during the healing phase.

Watch for complications

Following the tonsillectomy, the chance of complications is small but possible. Watch for warning signs so that you can act quickly. Look out for excessive bleeding and dehydration. Although it’s normal for your child to have some minor bleeding after surgery, call your doctor immediately if you notice excessive bleeding. Providing plenty of fluids will help keep your child hydrated.

Schedule follow-up appointments

Follow-up care is crucial to your child’s treatment. Ensure that you schedule and attend all follow-up appointments. Call the doctor right away if you must cancel one of your child’s follow-up appointments and re-schedule for a different date.

The otolaryngologists at Southern ENT Associates provide men, women, and children throughout southeast Louisiana with the highest quality in ear, nose, and throat care. For all of your ear, nose, and throat needs, call the closest office to schedule an appointment, or book online.

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