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Upcoming Tonsil and Adenoid Surgery

I will try to keep this short. After much research and discussion we have decided to go ahead with surgery to remove both of my 6 and 8 year olds tonsils and adenoids this fall. They both have really large adenoids and tonsils and because of this have mouth breathing issues, snoring and sleep apnea issues...causing them to wake up from a full nights sleep not well rested and tired. So my question is not whether to have the surgery or not, we have already decided that and are comfortable with our decision. But I want to know how to prepare them and what to expect. My son really really does not want to have the surgery. He is scared and just gets nervous around doctors in general. I would also love to hear from moms who have had this done for their children and what the surgery was like, what the recovery was like. Complications if any and if they saw improvement in their kids after? Thanks in advance!!
I suppose I should add to my post that my kids are supposed to have this done in an outpatient facility...right at 20 s. park in Madison so they will not be in an actual hospital. Has anyone had it done this way also?

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See if they have a little class or a kit on what they will see, hear and smell. When my son had surgery we used a kit that had a mask for gas in it, a surgical hat and mask and some other things too. He walked himself to the OR and even put the mask to his face by himself! Also ask if they can be put under with gas before they start the IV's. If they already have DR anxiety maybe you could ask your MD for a 1/4 dose of Xanax or Ativan to help them relax before the surgery. As a nurse I see how some kids get so anxious just walking into the hospital or clinic. They will sense your fear too so take a deep breath and really let them know it isn't a big deal. Good Luck!

My daughter, now 10, had hers out when she was 4, for the same reasons. She had severe sleep apnea, we had a sleep study done to find this out, although it was pretty obvious from home that was what was going on.
Anyways, she had it done at Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI. It was also outpatient. The clinic sent me a website that had a 10 minute video of what to expect, from check-in to check-out. It was wonderful and she loved watching it. When we went to the clinic she remembered everything and even corrected some of the nurses and said "that's not how you are supposed to do this...the video said...". I think it put her at ease.
There was also no "needle fear" because being a kid they gave her the gas mask first and after she was out, then they put in the IV's. She had no clue they were there til after.
I would see if the hospital in Madison has something similar like a video or at least some pamphlets or something to help them understand exactly what's going to happen. Even though they are "older", it's still a scary thing to happen! Good luck..and remember that this is really for the good, they will sleep so much better...and that's what kids need!

I am with you on feeling unsure about the whole situation. But it was the best thing we could have done for our son! My son was 5 when he had both of his out. He had the same sleeping issues. We had a bumpy recovery. He didn't want to eat very much of anything. We bought a lot of shakes!! He lost about 4 pounds. It was a little difficult when he ate solid things or drank liquid at first. They sometimes wanted to come out his nose, so eating took a little concentration. I guess this is a common thing. His tonsils were so large before, he had the space of a pencil between them. Just stay on top of the pain meds they give you. Please don't be scared about the recovery, I guess some kids do very well, and don't have some of the issues that we had. We noticed no snoring, no sleep apnea, and improved allergies within a week; as the swelling went down. If this helps, we bought our son something special and gave it to him the morning of the surgery, and he was able to take it with him to surgery. We also had ours done in an out-patient facility. But prepare to be there all day. I thought it was nicer, because our son felt like he was going to a doctor.
And now a year after surgery; he sleeps like a rock, and had about an 80% improvement in his seasonal allergies!!! Best of luck to you, and I hope they have a speedy recovery!

I have twin 7 yr old boys who are recovering from same surgery. It has been 2 weeks and now are fine but still restricted on activity. They also had outpatient surgery. Recovery room was rough were pretty sore. Ice packs for throats helps and slushy drinks. 1st couple of days were not bad but it got worse days 3-7. I suggest chloraseptic throat strips, especially before bed and when waking up at night.Good luck.

No children with this, but I can tell you, my husband has sleep apnia BADLY and has never had his tonsils removed. As a child, was diagnosed with apnia but his mom DIDN'T want him to udergo surgery. He wishes she had gone through with it and followed through with the diagnoses because now at 36, we all HATE his snoring and he has so much trouble sleeping. Never getting a full nights sleep and is ALWAYS tired regardless of how long he slept. (They say that people with apnia are sleeping approximately 1/2 of the nights rest that they actually spend in bed sleeping.) So, for a kid...8-10 hrs is normal...so if they have apnia, they are only getting about 4-5 hrs every night. (my hubby now has to go in for a sleep study and will most likely have to use a breathing machine for assistance, instead of having the surgery at a young age and avoiding the machine and all the life long complications he's had to overcome all together. He too has an intense fear of doctors so having his mom step in for him and advocate for him when he was young would have been the better way to go for him.)

I hope this helps your kids out...so they don't have to suffer the affects for years to come, like my hubby.

If you go through Children's Hospital, they have a pre-surgery orientation for kids that walks them through everything, lets them handle medical equipment, tour the hospital, etc. Your facility might offer something similar. It would be worth checking out, as we found the program to be tremendously helpful with my son.

Hi J.,

Two of my kids in the last year have had their tonsils/adnoids out. Everyone has wonderful suggestions but I will add one more. If you are making smoothies, make very little. If you give them a frozen treat, they may only eat half of it. Stay away from sticky foods at first (mac/cheese, milk products) as they tend to coat and then the kids try to clear their throat and it hurts. Smoothies with a little yogurt is a good option. Use frozen banana/peaches/strawberries.

Both of my children had out-patient surgeries. That didn't seem to pose a problem.

Also, this is a key bit of information...remember to stay on top of the pain. Keep your child dosed on pain medication on a regular basis and if your little one is in a lot of pain, don't be afraid to call your doctor and ask for a stonger pain medication. Mix it in with the smoothie as even that can hurt when passing by a sore throat.

Good luck...the pain won't last forever.


I had this done when I was 6. I remember it clearly and it wasn't terrible at all. My parents explained the surgery to me and I asked if it would hurt. They told me a little but nothing too bad. The doctor had given them a pamphlet about the surgery that explained everything for me. I remember I was given some kind of pill that made me all loopy (and that was great, I giggled) and then the doctor put the mask on me and asked me to count down from 10. Around number 3 I was out and when I woke up a nurse was sitting beside the bed. I spent one night in the hospital and got to eat all the popsicle and 7-up mixture that I wanted (this was soothing on the throat). A few says off school and I was back to normal. Your children are old enough to understand why they need the surgery and though they may be scared going up to it they will be fine after. Get them a fun activity that they can enjoy while recovering. That may help.

My daughter's surgery was done in an outpatient Childrens Hospital facility, too, and it worked great. They had arrangements set up in case there were complications to send her over to the hospital, but all went well and we went home that day. They gave us the option of having her IV left in (I flushed it at home) so they could easily give her fluids at the clinic if she got dehydrated (very common after this surgery with kids) without having to add the pain of a new needle stick. We were glad we did - she needed fluid twice over the next few days. To prepare her, we let her pick out popsicles and juice and such to have "just for her" for after surgery at home and also let her assemble a collection of her favorite movies to watch (most from our collection and a couple rented, plus a new one as a "surgery present") so they would be ready when she came home. It was painful, but she received great care and it really did go pretty well for us. She was a little trooper. It made a HUGE difference and great improvement in her health, too. Good luck!

I had both of my kids Adnoids and Tonsilstaken out and I'm so glad I did, wish I has it done waaay sooner on my 4 year old boy at the time. He now sleeps better and can actually smell, which he oculdn't before. Surgery can be scary, but in the long run both kids are healthier, fewer colds, ear infections, etc.... Good luck.

J. , I am the mother of 4 children my two oldest have had their tonsils and adnoids out and my now 3yr old has had her adnoids out. All of the surgeries were preformed at an out pt. surgical center . The surgeries seemed to go quickly around 35-45 minutes and then we stayed in the recovery rooms for about 2 hours post surgery. my two oldest had their surgeries at ages 4 and 3 and my 3 yr old had her adnoids out at 13 months. post surgery is different for everyone just make sure to keep them hydrated and to avoid any sharp or scratchy foods and anything red. the surgeon will most likely prescribe pain meds for post surgery. From Mom of 9,7,3,2

Oh My, what timing.... My daughter 6yrs just got home from having a T&A. We had it done on Monday. We are at home and doing the recovery thing right now. I was a little anxious but right now, I am soooo happy we have done it. Today she was crying a little saying her ears hurt, but a dose of tylenol with codiene and she is doing well. She is not talking or eating much though. She slept so quiet last night, I actually woke her twice to make sure she was okay. She just started talking about three hours ago and sounds like Minnie Mouse, but she is doing fine. You are in Madison Wisconsin sounds like, so do not know if your local hospital has a CHild Life program. I will be honest though, we did not use ours anyway. We had a little book our ENT gave us and we just read that together. We told her her throat was going to be sore, but that she got a chance to eat jello and icecream for breakfast, lunch & dinner. That sold her!!! We told her about going to the doctor and got the Teddy goes to the Hospital book and it talked about the sleep machine and the flavors they got a chance to pick out. Kids are pretty sharp if you are just very frank and honest. I was a little worried about bleeding, but that was almost none. I also worried about infection do our ENT started us on a preventative antibiotic and that has been well. We were very careful about her exsposure to other kids two weeks prior to surgery and we made sure she got no over the counter medications either. We took our own pillow and "lovey" stuffed animal and I took her on a popcicle and icecream shopping trip two nights prior. We did ours in the hospital though because my daughter has some past breathing difficulties but sailed through this with ease. You can pm me your e-mail and I can keep you posted on her progress and we can communicate that way. It will be fine. (((HUGS)))).

Hello J.!
My daughter had her tonsils and adnoids out about a year and a 1/2 ago when she had just turned 4. I was terrified of the thought of surgery but it was honestly the best thing we could have done for her. We were absolutely amazed at the difference before and after. Before you could hear her breathing/snoring from our room that is across the hall with both doors shut! We didn't think anything of it until we looked in her throat and saw that her tonsils were so large they were touching her Uvual and you could actually see the veins on them! Now we have to go in and stand right over her to hear her. We had hers done at an outpatient facility and they have everything they need there. Waking up from the surgery you could tell she was in a great deal of pain but the codine seemed to help that. She basically laid on the couch for the rest of the day. We kept her out of daycare for about a week and she never had any bleeding or complications of any sort. She only took the codine the very first day and then from that day she only took childrens tylenol.
As far as helping to keep them relaxed...we talked to our daughter to prepare her. They will probably let you take something that makes soothes them. My daughter brought her favorite blanket. I basically bawled the entire time she was away from us which was about 30 minutes or so. :-) It is hard to see you child in pain but with sleep apnea and if your child has pauses in there breathing that is not safe or heathly.
Good luck and you will be extremely glad you had it done early and not when they are a teen and the recovery period is twice as long.

Hi, my daughter had this surgery when she was 8 also. It was on an out- patient basis too. Everything went fine before,during and after. There is some discomfort for at least a day or two and it was scary to see her lying there with ice packs on her neck. I had everything set up on and near her bed for her, TV, movies, books, quiet games, etc. She bounced back really quickly, be very careful with activity for two weeks though as she had a setback the following week with some bleeding and hospitalization over night. If we had not let her get as active as she did so soon this may not have happened. So, hang in there with the quiet activities. In the weeks after surgery I would find myself putting my head close to her face as she slept because I couldn't hear her breathe anymore! I thought something was wrong but of course this was how she was supposed to be sleeping. She was a tiny little 38 pounder when she had surgery and had reached 50 pounds in just six months after surgery! She looked and felt SO much healthier! I hope everything goes well for your two, the pre surgery process will hopefully calm your son and help him relax. The staff at our hospital was great with dealing with children going through surgery. Good luck.

I am a mom of 3... I work as a full time teacher and a part time mom...(sad to say somedays....) Anyways, my children are 11, 5 and 4. Last year my oldest son (who was only 4 at the time)had his tonsils and adenoids removed as an outpatient. Here is my two-cents worth... Be ready with the children's tylenol and/or motrin... The doctor's gave us (literally) a PINT of Tylenol with Codine but my son wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with it because of the taste... So here he was screaming and we had the hardest time getting them to give him just a plain old dose of Children's Tylenol. We wished we would have brought our own... Plus, when you get home, have some on hand there also...

And, this little tid-bit is to ease your mind as a mom... THey give them something to drink before they do ANYTHING to them...that kind of makes them a little 'drunk' acting so when that kicked in John-Brady didn't even care what happened.

Good Luck...I know this is a hard decision to make...

Hi J.~

Both of my older girls had the surgery. My oldest when she was 4 and my middle daughter when she was 3. We to did not go to an actual hospital and everything was fine. The staff was WONDERFUL with the girls, they to where both VERY nervous. The down time for both of them was honestly nothing more than a day. I am not sure how much pain either of them really had, 3 and 4 year olds can't really "tell" you that but watching how they where acting by the time we left the surgery center they where somewhat back to themselves. After the surgery however both the girls seemed to be in a lot of pain, the nurse (by luck I had the same one for both girls...there surgeries where a year apart) told me that was normal and most of the time it's not so much the pain as it is being scared of not knowing what is going on. As far as improvement my oldest was like instant, her speech was much clearer and she didn't snore anymore. My other daughter wasn't so fast. Her speech now is clearer and no more snoring for her either! If you'd ask me if I'd do it all over again, I would most in a heart beat!!

I hope this helps to ease some of the uncertanty.

Oh boy can I tell you about tonsils:) My 6 yr old when she was 4 had recurrent Strep throat, gagging issues, snoring, sleep apnea(stopping breathing and gasping for air) and was in the less than 10th percentile for her height and weight!! Her peds sent her to an ENT and he had us look and there were 2 huge red marble sized tonsils almost touching in the back of her throat! We had them and her adenoids out and even with the slight swelling the night after the surgery there was no snoring! She has not had anymore Strep or ear infections and not even that many colds. The gagging was gone so she started to eat like a horse and grew a ton in height and weight in just a month...Also, her 4 yr old brother when he was 2 had the same thing minus the gagging issues but he too was in the 10th percentile and had the whole snoring etc. SO, back to the same ENT who found the same thing plus recomended ear tubes because of fluid which was causing some hearing loss and lots of infections...after the surgery, only 1 ear infection in 2 yrs now and peaceful, quiet sleep at night. They both did fine with the surgery..they scheduled it early in the morning so they dont have to be without food and drink so long. They let me go back with them while they gave them the sleepy gas, and they start the IV after they are asleep. Most will let you back in the recovery room when they are waking up so that they see Mom and Dad right away. We brought some videos to pass the time while we were waiting for them to go to surgery and brought some little presents (Thomas trains or princess) to unwrap after to get their minds off the sore throat. Once they can drink and pee they can go home. They gave us liquid Tylenol with codeine which we alternated around the clock for the first 24 hrs..They were drinking Koolaid and having popsicles and chicken broth that night and by the next morning it was hard to keep them quiet on the couch!! Hope this helps, if you have any more questions you can email me at ____@____.com Im in Madison and the surgeries were done at the UW Childrens Hospital here by Dr. McMurray,,,,I am a nurse at Meriter, I havent heard of it being done at 20 south Park, just at the hospital

My son had his tonsils and adenoids removed when he was in first grade for similar reasons you explained. It all went well except his doctor put him on percoset for pain, and I think it was too strong of a dose - it literally made him look like he was brain dead. He wouldn't watch tv, just sit on the couch and stare out the window for hours. The hospital did a great job preparing him and gave him a little stuffed animal as he went into surgery. We just didn't make a big deal about it - didn't talk about it alot, just kinda went "well, today's the day, let's go" and off we went. One thing that might help is for your son who's nervous to put on some noise cancelling headphones and music he enjoys to drown out all the strange hospital noises (which might make him more nervous). Or have him bring a favorite stuffed animal to hold. Tell him a lot of kids have had this done and it might not feel great at first, but afterwards things are going to be a lot better. I can't think of anything else to tell you other than say some very calm "God be with us" type prayers together. Pray for the doctors to do the right thing too. I hope all goes well!

I had my tonsils removed a little late in life at age 15. I had it done at an outpatient surgery center and everything went fine. I too was scared of the surgery. I don't remember anything bad about recovery. My throat hurt for a few days and I wasn't thrilled that I had to eat soft food, but that was really all I had to complain about. For your sons, just be honest. If they ask if it is going to hurt, simply say "it might hurt, but I really don't know," or "yes, your throat will be a little sore for a few days." Tell them that they will be getting medicine to "help them take a long nap during the surgery." Don't tell them that they will be put to sleep for the surgery--pets get "put to sleep" and they don't wake up! If all else fails, emphasize the popsicles and icecream they get to eat afterward :)

I know you have a lot of responses, but here goes another.... My son had his tonsils and adnoids removed in April (he was only 2)! I was surprised that it was an outpatient surgery as well. Back in my day, it was at least 1 night in the hospital (god forbid insurance companies spend that kind of $$ these days). Our doctor gave us some liquid pain medication that had codiene. I gave it to our son every 4-6 hours around the clock for the first 2-3 days, even if he was doing okay. After that, he only used tylenol and did great!!!
Just remember to stock up on all the cold goodies, they will do fine.
PS...You will be so surprised to see the difference in your children. Not only will the sleep apnea and snoring be gone, but you will notice a difference in their personality too (I think it has to do with getting a good night sleep for once).
This is getting too long....but if your son has a lot of anxiety about it, I would call the office and see if you can take a tour of the out-patient clinic. That way he will have a better understanding of the situation.

I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was 13 (17 years ago). I had it done at a hospital, but I was sent home just a couple of hours later.

The recovery time was worse than I anticipated--the pain was awful. Also--and I'm sure the doctors will tell you this--they will puke up the blood that leaks down their throats during surgery. It looks like coffee grounds and it is nasty. I puked on the kitchen floor and then my mom started gagging, so I had to clean it up myself. LOL! So just be prepared for the coffee-ground puke!

And you know what--tonsils can grow back. Mine did. I was about 20 or so, and I was at the doctor for not feeling well. He looked in my throat, and told me that my tonsils looked swollen. I knew before then they could grow back, but I was surprised that it happened to me. It also happened to my friend's sister.

I *am*, however, glad that I had my adenoids taken out. I used to snore terribly, and I haven't since then.

Just stock up on popsicles and get some good painkillers. Good luck to you!

i had to laugh when i read this--we jsut got hoem from seeing the ent doctor and my son has to have his adenoids and tube put in his ears this fall. so i'm looking forward to reading the responses!!! good luck this fall with the surgeries!!!

First of all good for you for doing this, I sure wish I would have had it done as a child rather than when I did(I was 22). But second, please condsider a regular hospital and an overnight stay...not to scare you but there can be complications from this procedure as with any and it's best to be there overnight for their safety. Good luck, I'll pray for them.

Hi J.,
As a second year medical student, I don't know that much about this procedure. However,regarding it being at an outpatient facility, there are benefits to this. You can control the food and treats situation much more easily (and the pain medication), the child will feel more comfortable coming home in the evening, and it will reduce your child's risk of contracting any nasty anti-biotic resistant bacteria that often cause complications in surgical patients. Maybe just talk to your doc about the parameters of the pain medicine you will be given, so you can know if you can give a dose a little sooner than scheduled if needed by your child, or will have his direct contact info if needed to check in about recovery questions. Sounds like most of the children come through easily, and children recover much more quickly than adults due to their growing systems. Best of luck,

My son had it down when he was 7. It was in a hospital, but it was same day surgery. The hospital gave all of the children a tour a week or so before the surgery and told them what to expect, showed them where to be and even went over the flavors of anesthesia so they could start thinking about that. I think every kid is different. It was a much more difficult recovery than I expected for my son, but we are glad we had it done because it cleared up his problems. He was repeatedly getting strep and he was having allergic reactions to the antibiotics. He hasn't had strep since the surgery and it's been 5 years. He was very nauseous after the surgery and couldn't even keep down liquids. They sent him home anyhow, but probably should have kept him overnight. He almost ended up dehydrated and I almost had to bring him back in the next day. The day after surgery I sat with him with a cup of ice chips and spooned a small amount into his mouth at every possible moment. He couldn't keep down a popsicle or anything. He was also in a lot of pain for about a week. He was on Tylenol with codeine and he would request more before it was time to give him more. He didn't even feel up to watching videos, etc. He pretty much just stayed on the couch or in bed for almost the first week and he is a very energetic child. Obviously this doesn't happen to all kids, but that was our experience. There were several kids having the surgery that day at the hospital and he was by far the last one discharged. We kept watching everyone else leave. He was finally discharged because a rookie nurse started a shift, not because he was medically ready to go. He threw up (including some blood) in the parking lot on the way to our car after he was discharged and I called up to the nurse's desk and the rookie nurse wouldn't let us bring him back! Yes, I complained about her! After all of this we are very glad we had the surgery done! I hope your children have a more typical experience and that it goes well. I don't mean to scare you, but some kids do have a more difficult time than others. The doctor did try to warn us, but I thought it wouldn't be so bad because our son is usually pretty resilient. Best of luck.

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