Need Info on Recovering from Have Tonsils and Adenoids Removed

Updated on November 14, 2009
K.M. asks from Imperial, MO
11 answers

My almost 6 year old is having his tonsils and adenoids removed about 2 1/2 weeks before his birthday. I was wondering how the recovery was with the surgery in terms of trying to plan his birthday party. The paperwork that we received from the ENT says you can return to school in 4-5 days but not gym class for 2 weeks. We are having his party at Chuck E Cheese' you think we need to wait 2 weeks? Thanks!

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answers from Kansas City on

My daughter had hers done in 2007, she was almost 3 1/2 at the time. It took a full 7 days for recovery. In those 7 days, she hardly ate more than a bite or two all day long. We even offered ice cream for breakfast! Needless to say, it was a long 7 days. I don't know that you need to wait the full 2 weeks, but I would wait at least one. Good luck.

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answers from Kansas City on

As you know, recovering from any surgery is really unique to each individual. Children usually deal with it better than adults but they still suffer with pain for several days afterward and you want to keep them safe from complications. Your ENT is making these suggestions based on past evidence on how children handle this particular surgery. There will be no external incisions. The base of the tonsils and/or adenoids will be burned (cauterized) with an electrical cauterizing unit. The whole procedure usually takes less than 60 minutes. I've been told that adenoids can grow back sometimes too. Actually the anesthetic can sometimes be tough on your child too (like make him sick to his tummy). I give Children's Motrin but check with your Dr. to see if that's okay pain relief for your son. The Dr. might prefer something else like Children's Tylenol but Motrin/Ibuprofen always cuts the pain more effectively in my experience.

I always air on the cautious side. Let your little guy be the one to show you how he feels by how he acts and just ask him directly about how he's really feeling. He might act better for a short time and then his body will remind him that he needs extra rest to fully heal. Have lots of popsicles on hand. Stick with soft foods that are easy on his throat like Jello, soup, popsicles, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Try to avoid foods that may sting his throat like orange juice, grapefruit, or tomato-based foods or drinks.

As for Chuckie's a germfest so I'd be reluctant to go there right after surgery since his body will be trying to heal and you don't want to expose him to other stuff while his immunities are compromised. When he's 100% then you can have all kinds of fun.

Also, when my little nephew had his removed my sister actually found a book at the library that talked about the surgery so that he'd know what to expect before, during and after so it could calm any anxiety he may feel. I wouldn't actually make a big deal out of it and would wait to discuss it with him the day before so he'll know what to expect but doesn't have to deal with days upon days of worrying about what's to come. Every parent has to make their own judgement on this since you know your child and if he's a worry wart or not.

The fact is that it's not all about just eating ice cream for a week and it should be taken seriously. However, this surgery is done so frequently that every attempt is made to keep infections at bay but it can be up to 10 days later when a secondary haemorrhage can occur. Just keep an eye on him and in the long run it's the best thing.

Obviously, Moms know best about their own children and can tell when they need extra TLC. I'm sure he'll do great!

(BEST Tip: Also, I'd let him have a special blanket or something to take with him to the hospital that he can snuggle with while he's being prepped for surgery.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita on

Good Morning K., I was 17 when I had mine removed, the younger you are is seems the faster you heal.
If he is having the surgery two and a half weeks before his B-day then I would think by having the extra time to completely heal up he would be ok. It's the constant jostling, running etc... that may cause bleeding again, is what they might be concerned about.

Make sure you stock up on jell-o, pudding, mashed spuds, applesauce. Ice packs, believe it or not Ice cream is not that good with tonsil removal. It's so cold it hurts, or it did me anyway. Don't let him use straws either..

You probably already received all that info from the ENT
Just me being a gr mom
God Bless you and your little man he should be fine by his b day I would imagine.
K. Nana of 5
PS watch his ears later on, for some reason when I start to get a cold my right ears starts aching constantly. Started after having my tonsils removed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita on

I won't tell you not to follow doctor's advice but both my kids bounced back within a week and I couldn't have kept them from running around if I tried.



answers from St. Louis on

my daughter Stacey had her tonsils and adenoids removed at this age in 1973. She was having cronic ear infections.
After a short recovery time 3 to 5 days she was perfectly normal in every way. The surgery really helped her ear infections... I'm so glad we had this done...P. Brown



answers from Joplin on

YES ! Wait two weeks before attempting Chuck E Cheese ! The reason you wait that long before physical activity is because when the scabs come off at 7 to 10 days, the child is once again susceptible to heavy bleeding.
Also, although he may be eating before then, he will not yet be ready for eating anything scratchy like pizza.
Your child will enjoy his birthday much more if you wait the full two weeks.



answers from Joplin on

My daughter was 8 when she had hers removed. The Colorado Tip procedure was used, which we were told was about the smallest and least invasive way at that time (13 now) to have it done, but her recovery was awesome. She only used the thick pain stuff they gave her once and didn't like it so she refused to use it anymore b/c the pain just wasn't that bad. She wanted a cheeseburger the next day. And this is my whiny daughter, not the tuff one. In comparison, my dad had his out when he was around 50, my brother last year when he was 26 and a co-worker a couple of months ago at 33 and they all took a couple of weeks to even be able to go back to work and were still very uncomfortable. So he should do really well as young as he is. It really is true in my experience the younger they are the faster they bounce back. Hope this helps and good luck. Oh, PS: The hardest thing about the actual experience for her was getting the tape from the IV off her arm, so you might see if there is anything you or they can do about that.



answers from St. Louis on

my son had his removed just prior to his 5th birthday. I had been warned by experienced parents what to expect, & they were pretty much dead-on.

For some reason, after Day 1 & 2, Day 5 & Day 10 are the worst. One of my friends had 3 children go thru this surgery, & all 3 followed this pattern. My son did, too. After surgery, he was SILENT....did not talk for almost a week! He would nod his head, use hand gestures, & that's it. Our older son loved it, but it broke our hearts. As for staying home, our ENT recommended not returning to daycare until after 10 days....citing both needed recovery time, rest, & avoiding germs.

We did take a stuffed animal with us- one which we had "prepped" at home for surgery. We put pajamas on it, sewed on an IV tube, & a foil hat. The hospital also gave him a handmade stuffed animal, along with a goody bag. We took the camera & took photos at each stage.

At home, we stocked up on soft foods...trying to avoid too many freezer items because they can be painful. We also had a supply of surprise gifts...just little stuff from the dollar store. AND my husband built a play table/playhouse combo for in our son's room. It was an early BD present, stored all of his cars/trucks, had a flat playing surface for setting up his ramps & stuff, & served as a hideaway! Our son pretty much lived in the playhouse during recovery!

As for your son's BD, I would recommend putting more time in between surgery & party....or delaying surgery until after his birthday. That way, he could recover while playing with his new toys!



answers from St. Louis on

Yes, you need to wait 2 weeks to help prevent bleeding. That's why no gym, running, sports for 2 weeks post-op.



answers from Kansas City on

I don't really have anything to add to what's already been said, except that the hospital let us visit the weekend before my daughter had her tonsils out. They took us to the rooms we'd be in, showed her how they would monitor her heart with the thing they put on your finger, showed her a gown and even gave us one of the masks they use for the anesthesia for us to take home to practice breathing into it. In any case, I think this helped my daughter (she was 3) because she saw the rooms she'd be in & met some of the people she'd be with on the day of the surgery. Our hospital (St. Luke's East) doesn't allow parents to go with the child to the operating room-- I was very stressed out about this, but my daughter did great-- wasn't upset at all-- and I really think it's because we took her to visit a few days before her surgery. I recommend calling your hospital to see if your child can come to see the hospital.

I think you'll find that everything goes more smoothly than you might expect. And prepare yourself for the possibility that he'll cough up some blood after you think he's healed (I guess about 10 days after surgery?)-- that was very scary for us, but after rushing her to emergency, they let us know it was totally normal. (the Dr. had told us about that, I guess it just caught us by surprise)

Best of luck to you and your little one-- I'm sure he'll do great.
Oh! I have to ditto what Shyla said-- make sure all the tape, etc is off before he wakes up (probably need to ask the nurse ahead of time to double-check it-- by the time they come get you, he'll be awake). They accidentally left some sticky things on my daughter's chest and it was several weeks before we could pry them off without hurting her. (even soaking in the tub and using baby oil didn't help much!)



answers from St. Joseph on

Why not move his birthday party up and have it BEFORE his surgery? That way he can enjoy his presents during recovery.

My kid was 3 when he had his out and I would recommend waiting. The first few days were miserable and we were on constant pain meds...once the scabs started it was better but when they started coming off we were sort of back to square one (albeit not as bad). He might say he's ready for Chuck E Cheese's but my guess is his body won't be. I'd suggest having this conversation with your Dr. or his head nurse. But my vote is move the party up... what's a few weeks anyway? I'm having my daughter's birthay early so we won't interfere with Thanksgiving & the December holidays...

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