3 Year Old Recovery from Tonsillectomy - What to Expect?

Updated on April 13, 2010
D.M. asks from Littleton, CO
9 answers

My 3.5 year old daughter will be having her tonsils out later this month. What can I expect in her recovery? What can I do to help her through the first painful days? THANK YOU!

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So What Happened?

They surgery went well - they also removed her adenoids which were HUGE. She didn't feel well on the tylenol w/ codine... so we have been on plain tylenol since the day after surgery. She's VERY clingy and whiney... but not in too much pain (as she's eating and drinking - slowly). I'm glad it is over... hope she feels much better once healed. Not a fun experience...

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answers from Chicago on

The pain and recovery is minimal but it is still like a really bad sore throat. Get some popsicles in the freezer and maybe some videos or books in case he feels like taking it easy.

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answers from Houston on

Two of my daughters had this done at ages 2 and 3 yrs old. and with both of them they turned out to not have much pain and felt better once they were back to being completely alert from surgery.Lots of popsicles make it fun for them when in discomfort.
good luck


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answers from Cleveland on

My daughter had hers out in September at 3 1/2. She had tonsils and adenoids, and when they went in, her adenoids were severly infected, and had to use a lot of suction and give her a big dose of antibiotics. Before she came to, the doctor told me they would like to keep her overnight bcs of the big infection. When she first came out of the anethesia, she screamed and was disoriented for about 30 minutes, then fell asleep. She was brought into an overnight room and woke up after about an hour. The doctor came in to see her about 3 hours after the surgery, to see her jumping on the bed, and me doing everything in my power to get her to lay down. She was 100% fine, and they wound up discharging her at that time. She went home, and besides telling me it hurt when she swallowed, you would not know she had anything done. I had to fight her to stay on the couch the rest of the day, and she was out playing the next day.
One word of caution, someone mentioned yogurt, and you should avoid dairy for the first few days.
Best of luck.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

My son had his tonsils and adenoids removed when he was 2 1/2. It is supposed to be an out patient surgery with very quick recovery time. My son had a high blood pressure issue so they kept him overnight. I do not believe this had anything to do with the surgery itself, so please don't get panicked. It is part of his story though. By the next morning my son was running around pushing his stroller through the Pediatric ICU. The nurses were so funny, they loved it. They told me they don't get to see active (um, wild) children very often. Bottom line, my son had no recovery time. His voice was muted and a little scratchy, but he jumped right in and ate all his regular stuff. Of course, I kept him away from tortilla chips and taco shells, etc. Make sure you have popsicles, jello, pudding, yogurt on hand, but don't be surprised if she's back to normal quite quickly.
I expect all will go smoothly,

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answers from Indianapolis on

Our neighbor's son had tonsils/adenoids removed last year (3 years-old). We saw them return home and asked what we could do to help, anything we could bring by to help him pass the time.

In a few hours, he was outside playing with our son.

The surgeries have apparently gotten so good in recent years that the pain and recovery are minimal. I'd ask the ENT performing the surgery what to expect, but based upon the experience our neighbor had, I'd expect it is hardest on us in anticipation than it is for the child in recovery.

Good luck.

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answers from Nashville on

My daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed the month she turned 3. Is your daughter responsive to books?? Mine really was, so I went online and found a great little book called Goodbye Tonsils .(http://www.amazon.com/Good-Bye-Tonsils-Craig-Hatkoff/dp/0...)
It's the story of a little girl named Juliana who has a sore throat all the time and winds up having to have her tonsils removed. Now, my daughter's surgery was due to recurrent ear infections, so I kinda incorporated that into the book. LOL Anyway, my daughter really loved the book and we referenced it A LOT during discussions about what her surgery was going to be like. I really think that book impacted her and made her comfortable with the whole hospital environment. I think I paid more for overnight shipping than the cost of the actual book. LOL I found it only about 1 week before her surgery and I wanted to be able to read it several times to her. It was WAY worth it. I even showed our ENT and he now has it posted it in his office and recommends it to very young patients. =0) So, the book is my best piece of advice with preparing your daughter. As for the recovery....it really wasn't too bad. She was very groggy and a little upset right as she woke up. But, I just layed in the bed with her and she dozed on and off. Their rule was that she had to eat a popsicle or drink something and keep it down before she could go home. At one point, she did cough and spit up a tiny bit of blood and the nurse said that was ok and not to be alarmed. My daughter was still too groggy to really get freaked by it. The previous night, I took her to the grocery store and let her pick out all her very own "surgery foods". And she didn't even have to share them with her little brother. LOL That was a big deal to her. =0) So, we had jello and popsicles and lipton chicken noodle soup, etc, etc. When we got home, we surprised her with a gift basket of quiet activities and toys and a cozy new stuffed animal to cuddle. She loved that and really perked up at that point. The only couple things I wasn't prepared for was that her voice sounded so "different" for about 2 weeks. Kinda scratchy, nasally, squeaky. But, it went away as she healed. I also wasn't prepared for the smell left from the gas anesthesia. It was in her hair and clothes and on her breath. It was not a nice smell. LOL It seemed to linger on her for about 48hrs or so....even after bath. That just may have been something unique to her, but iwho knows! Really, the thing that bothered her most after she woke up was her IV in her hand. They had it all wrapped up in gauze and she really wanted it out. But, I just reminded her that Juliana (from the book) also had to have the IV and that the nurse would take it out just as soon as they could. That surgery really changed my daughter's life. She's now 6 and never had another ear infection. Barely even visits the pediatrician anymore. It's wonderful and I would do it over in a heartbeat! =0) Good luck to you and your little one!
***oh, and we made sure to give her the medicine right on the dot all through the night, etc. And I wanted to mention that she insisted on eating crunchy cheetos that very next evening!!! I made her chew each one like 20 times! LOL But, she was all good! =0)**

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answers from Denver on

Hi, my son (3) just had his tonsils and adenoids out about two weeks ago. After the surgery he was a little out of it and very sore. The nurses gave him a slushy right away which seemed to help. He was in some level of pain for about a week, but after about one-two days he was playing, drinking and eating soft foods regularly. When his meds were about to wear-off you could tell he was starting to feel the pain. He also would wake up crying a few times in the middle of the night for about a week. But after that point he was back to his normal self. Good luck..... and stock up on popsicles and cold treats.

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answers from Dallas on

My 5 year old son just had his out over Spring Break. The first 48 hours were the hardest. He did have pain and we used pain meds for the first 48 hours and after that just Tylenol. He did have pain but he was extremely upset because he wanted "real" food, not soft food. A couple hours after the surgery he was eating soft mini muffins with his milkshake because he wanted something to chew. We did stock up on ice pops and ice cream the day before the surgery and the cold really helped ease the pain.

Good lukc. They do recover alot quicker then we would.



answers from New York on

she will be given pain killer, tylenol with codine i believe. we didn't use it, we used regular tylenol instead. we were told to feed her normal food right away so that the muscles will begin strengthening right away. i did that from day 1 and i truly believe that made a difference for the better. we were warned it will take 14 days for our daughter to heal completely, even though by day 6 through 8 we would think all is behind us, day 10 or 11 would bring, in most cases, bleeding, and because of this we were to not allow her to do anything (go out, run etc), because this bleeding would most likely occur. sure enough day 6 through 9 she was great. day 10 she bled and we went back to doctors' office. it eas nothing, but still had to be checked. her ability to drink, or will to drink, was very down so we gave her popsickles the entire time (nothing red, even no red jello because they want you to know when there is bleeding and you won't know if she's eating red foods).
all in all i had expected the recovery to be terrible, but because we followed all the guidelines, my daughter was pain-free. but it did take exactly 14 days. so i say take it very easy those two weeks.
by the way my daughter had tonsils and adenoids out the same day. most doctors recommend adenoids out same time as tonsils because most of the time problems are with adenoids, combined with tonsils. we took both out, and per our doc's words, her tonsils were full of gunk and adenoids twice the size, even though at first he didn't want adenoids out, but only agreed when we told him she snored at night (nothing badly). there was a woman in hospital with her son, who told us she was back 6 months after her son had tonsils out. their doctor had not recommended having adenoids out, and 6 months later, after surgery, they realized the problem that boy was having had to do with adenoids as well. how bad to have to go through this surgery twice in one year. uhg