My 2 Year-old Needs Her Tonsils/adnoids Removed!!

Updated on October 30, 2008
X.S. asks from Seattle, WA
9 answers

My daughter has always had a hard time breathing when sleeping. She snores loudly and stop breathing sometimes...After a recent sleep study we were told she suffers from toddler sleep apnea! The doctors advice is to remove her tonsils/adnoids immediatly to stop any futher problems. I am totally scared and freaked to think of my daughter having surgery and was looking for advice from any other moms out there who have had the same situation! She is scheduled for surgery Monday at a wonderful Childrens Hospital in seattle. Any advice?!

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So What Happened?

Well, the surgery was a success and it was indeed a VERY fast surgery. She had minimal bleeding and swelling thought we did stay overnight in the hospital for evaluation due to her age. She was eating right away, and seemed to be pretty positive. We are now on day three since the hospital and she still talks a little funny (like she has a sore throat...because she does!) and has some swelling, but she improves day to day. The really awful snoring has completely disapated, though she still snores a little, but I am guessing that is from the swelling. Thanks so much for all your kind thoughts and words. It really helped me to know how common the surgery is!

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answers from Seattle on

You don't need to worry, I am not a mother, but I was a child that had the same problems. I did not have my tonsils removed but I did have my adnoids removed and while I was scared, Children's did a wonderful job. In the long run, I'm so happy I can't snore anymore!

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answers from Seattle on

Hi X.,

It's always scary when your kids need to have any procedure done especially when they are so young and you can't really explain to them so that they will understand.

I'm a mother of 4, one is a special needs child and I'm also a nurse. Believe me, I'm the most paranoid mom around. I always think the worst.

My kids have had many procedures done at Children's and also several long hospitalizations. I would be confidient in the care that they give.

Two of my kids have had their tonsils and adnoids out. My youngest had his out at about 14 months of age. He had sleep apnea so bad that I also couldn't sleep afraid that he would stop breathing and die. It was torment to listen to him stop breathing and wait until he started again. He did end up having to spend the night in the hospital as when kids have sleep apnea so bad, their chemical receptors change and they get used to having a low oxygen content in their blood and the trigger to breathe is triggered not by low oxygen but by high carbon dioxide. So when these kids have a good air exchange and good oxygen content, they forget to breathe. It takes a little time for their bodies to reset to normal. I hope that makes sense. It is not common but can happen.

Also, it is so much better to get this done when they are young. From what I hear and have seen, the older you are when you get these out the more painful. My oldest was 4 when he had his out and he almost had to be readmitted for hydration as his throat was so sore that he wouldn't even take a popisicle.

Just try to keep her comfortable with pain meds and lots of popsicles and she should be okay.

Good luck -




answers from Seattle on

my daughter had the same procedure, plus she had ear tubes put in at the same time, done at children's hospital in seattle about 6 months ago. the procedure itself was done very quickly and she was up and about within 24 hours, as if nothing had happened at all! she was already awake from the anesthesia by the time they rolled her into her room, and she was really quiet at first but started crying when she saw us...that was the most heart wrenching part! we tried to give her "soft" foods like pudding or yogurt, but she preferred to have crackers, which the doctor said was okay, and within a week, she was back to her regular diet. we are really glad that we had the procedure done as she had been congested since birth and now she breathes more freely and no longer snores when she sleeps! her nose also finally stopped dripping (it was like she had a constant cold!) and she is just so much healthier now! she also hears better and her pronunciation has improved dramatically since the surgery.



answers from Seattle on

Hi - two of my children have had their adenoids removed. One when he was a little over two and one when he was around 18 months. Both were done at Seattle Childrens. For me the hardest part was just watching them with the anethesia and going to sleep but the kids were not scared and they let me be there until right before they fell asleep so hopefully that will be a comfort to you as well. The procedure really does go by quickly and you can be with your child in recovery. Kids act differently coming out of of mine was like it was no big deal and the other was kind of crying and out of it. The tonsils I know are a big deal in dealing with the pain. My kids had no pain with the adenoids but you do notice foul breath for a while. I can say that I do not regret it. Both of my sleep better and stopped snoring almost all the way - one still does a little. The better sleeping did not start right away so don't be discouraged (as I was) but it does happen...I felt like it was almost as if they had to relearn how to sleep as they had been use to waking up so many times. You are in the best hands at Childrens. Good luck to you ...I am sure everything will go great!



answers from Seattle on

Hi! I had my tonsils and adnoids out when I was 3. All I remember is that it was fun. I know that sounds crazy, but I thought it was some great adventure, you know? Going to the hospital, being taken care of. Getting to eat yummy green jello and popsicles, picking out the "special" band-aid to put on my arm... Green or Blue? I just remember it being fun. I remember my parents being shocked that I wasn't hurting. I wanted BurgerKing. My doctor said that I could have it if it didn't hurt, and it didn't, so I had french fries that night.

I think kids are generally unaware at that age of the seriousness of surgery unless we let on that it's serious to them. advice is don't worry and try to make it fun for your little one! ring some fun band-aids and let them dictate how scared/hurting they are. Maybe your daughter will be like me. She won't really be scared because she doesn't understand what's going on. Don't tell her it's going to hurt, let her tell you it hurts, you know?

I had 11 surgeries all before the age of 10 (don't worry, they were unrelated to the tonsils/adnoids stuff) and I was always okay. I think my parents were generally much more worried than I was. Some of the surgeries were painful, but I was always alright as long as my parents were close.

Don't worry, everything will be alright and maybe even fun for your little one!


answers from Seattle on

My sister has 4 children, and so far the oldest three have all had their tonsils/adenoids removed (as well as my good friend's daughter this year). Let me tell you, I'm a naturopathic supporter, but the difference in my nephew and nieces and my friend's daughter before surgery and by about 6 months after is amazing! They sleep, they haven't been sick, they aren't as cranky and naughty, they eat MANY more foods - I could go on!! So even though you don't want to remove body parts that God put in us for a reason, sometimes they go bad and need to come out!!

So after all that, don't worry. Make sure you're prepared for a child who is not herself for a week or so, but this is to be expected. The worst part of healing for my sister's kids was at about 10 days after when the scabs started to come off and she had to deal with some scary bleeding from one or two of them, but they were both no big deal. (Just that seeing your child cough up any amount of blood is scary!)

I'll pray for a good surgery and great recovery for your daughter.



answers from Seattle on

You can give her homeopathic Arnica before and after the surgery to heal and help with any shock to the body. Constitutional homeopathic treatment avoids the need for these surgeries by permanently healing the root of the issue. Taking out the part of the body that is affected by an internal issue we find does not cure the actual reason for the trouble - and after removed, often see other problems come up later in the person. It's never to late to take charge and work with more complete solutions :)



answers from Seattle on

Hi there,

My son had both his tonsils and adnoids removed when he was about 2 and the difference it made in his temperament was tremendous. Because he was getting better sleep at night, he wasn't the cranky kid all day every day. He also had the op done at Children's and they are awesome there. He got to take in a stuffed animal (his own) to hold for the whole time and he reacted fine to coming out of the anethesia. He loved the fact that we let him eat all the ice cream he wanted for about a week! It was the best thing we ever did for him!
Good luck!


answers from Seattle on


I had to have my tonsils removed a few years ago. They removed them, cauterized the "wound" and then I was on a liquid diet (nothing red) until the cauterizing fell of. As an adult I was a baby about it all, but it wasn't that bad. I couldn't talk that well for a day or two, but was fine in about a week and a half. Your daughter should be up and about sooner than that.

Not sure if you're going to Children's Regional Medical Center on Sand Point Way you have nothing to fear. That hospital is awesome. We've been there twice with heart issues with my daughter, and I felt completely relaxed when I was there. They specialize in all things Kid.


Let us know how it goes?

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