Tubes, Adenoids and Tonsil Removal

Updated on May 23, 2010
C.H. asks from Sublette, KS
11 answers

I am having a dilemma over what to do with my 3 year old. We just went to the ENT doctor today who said we should have tubes put in because of my son's problem with continuous fluid in the ears. He said they would remove the adenoids at the time if they need removed. I am positive they will need removed because he has had trouble breathing, especially at night, for awhile now. He mentioned his tonsils as well, because they are very large (they touch, and are rated at 4 on a scale of 1 to 4). I am very nervous to have his tonsils removed because he is very hyperactive. I am worried he is going to run around right after the surgery and I won't be able to control it. The doctor mentioned that he needed to not be active for a week, and that set off a red flag in my mind.... like "wow! I will never get him to be calm for a week!" Now, I know it's a major surgery and maybe he won't be active for awhile, but he has been really sick before and still running/jumping around... so I don't know if I should go on the side of caution and just wait on the tonsils. We are getting the tubes/adenoids done for sure, I'm just not sure on the tonsils. Has anyone been in the situation before or how did your kid handle this type of surgery? Thanks in advance!

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answers from Barnstable on

If they are going to knock him out with IV sedation and the tonsils are that bad, then just do it all. My son got tubes at 18 months, which was really easy.

My daughter had her tonsils and adenoids out when she was 8. Her time in the recovery room was a lot longer than my son and she was on pain killers that made her sleepy for about 4 days, after which she started riding her bike again.

I think he will be fine considering the medications tend to slow them way down.

Best of luck!

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answers from Santa Barbara on

My son had andenoids and tonsills removed at two. It's a simple out patient procedure. My son had an anxiety attack (newly adopted and scared) that took him into the Pediatric ICU for very high blood pressure. So it had nothing to do with the surgery itself. My son was running, literally, around ICU with his stroller the next morning. He went back to eating his regular diet that day, of course nothing too scratchy on his throat. The surgery was booked over a long weekend so that I could be with him while "recuperating." I let him watch way more TV than usual to try to slow him down some. We did not have any issues with bleeding, which is the concern with too much activity. If you are pretty strict about the TV/Videos/Electronics I would relax the rules while DS is "sick."

I would recommend that you do it all at once. If the Dr is in there once he might as well get it completed. Also, your insurance may not cover a second surgery to treat the same thing.

Good luck to your son (and you!)

PS My son's tonsills and adenoids were the size of a grown man in a tiny little body. He sounded like a freight train when he slept.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I have a 5 year old son who just had this procedure done in February. He had his tonsils & adenoids removed (he snored like a chain saw & his tonsils were a 3.5 out of 4) and he had tubes put in his ears for fluid. He is also an extremely active child. There are times when he is sick that I have to demand he sit down! (I never thought I'd have to say that to a sick person). However, after the surgery, he didn't really feel like doing a whole lot. It took about two to three days for him to really WANT to do anything. He was prescribed the tylenol/hyrdocodone pain killer, but he wouldn't take it because it tasted bad & gave him diarrhea. So, we switched him to plain tylenol & loaded up on the sherberts & other cool yummy treats. After day three (which they said would be our worst day, but we didn't see it), he did start moving around more, but we just bought him a few "get well" toys that included DVDs and legos--anything he could do sitting down. If he did start running around, we told him to stop & enlisted the aid of our older child to help keep him from running around. It was a little scary because of course we were concerned about the bleeding & he didn't really want to drink. However, three months later, we agree it was the best thing we ever did for our son. We actually wish we would have done it sooner because he has speech issues that developed because he couldn't hear us clearly--although he passed every hearing test he'd ever taken--and now he is in speech therapy trying to break 5 years of bad habits because he is very hard to understand. If your child is having sleep issues because of the adenoids & the tonsils are that large, I would highly recommend getting the surgery. Our Dr. told us that after the surgery our son would ultimately sleep better (he used to sleep like he was in training for the gymnastics event at the Olympics), and he truly has. It was scary for us for that week, but in the long run, we really do feel like it was worth it for our son.

Good luck to you & I hope it goes really well....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Both my daughter and my son were 2 years old when their tonsils/adenoids were removed and tubes put in. That first day will be pretty rough, but by evening both were doing good and the next couple of days progressed back to normal selves. The pain medication will keep him calm the first couple of days and by the time you ween off of it he will more than likely be completely healed. I think a good portion of the 1 week waiting factor is to make sure he is healed and doesn't pick up infection from other kids. Have peace of mind, do it all at once and think of activities he does like to do that are calmer and plan for those :)



answers from Davenport on

Yes do it all at once. The major concern with surgery at this age is the fact that they have to put him under anesthesia. My advice is to do it all at once, so you don't have to put him under a second time. My son was 3 when he had it done. The younger they are, the faster they recover. We were giving an rx for tylenol/codeine and we kept him on a schedule for the first 2-3 days. Then we only used it as needed (which was only 1-2x/day for another day or 2). You mentioned that he is hyperactive, but that may change after the surgery. It could be that he is hyperactive because he isn't getting proper sleep from his breathing/ear fluid issues.



answers from Columbus on

I would speak to the doctor about his activity level, and you concerns. If he does not sleep well now because of the adnioids, once he sleeps well, he may calm down some. Sometimes kids are over active because they are understimulated or are tired and are trying to become more alert, which is why stimulants work for ADHD, in a manner of speaking, those kids are hyper because they are understimulated (a little more complicated, but esentially the same.)

Don't count on him being down long with this surgery though! Our daughter had the tubes, adnoids and tonsils, and she was up eating a pb&j by noon that day!

Good luck,



answers from Kansas City on

We ended up doing this in separate surgeries because my son kept having anesthesia problems. After the tubes and adenoids, my son was up and running around by 5pm that night, it's actually not that big of a deal, the tonsils are the big deal. So my son had is tonsils out, he laid in the hospital bed for several hours eating Popsicles and I thought we would be good...not so much. When we got home he had gotten a new movie (he got several and I strongly suggest this since they need to stay a low key as possible, even if they don't normally watch tv, PS my son was 3.5 when we did the last surgery). I went up stairs to make his bed, he was watching the movie, I heard what I thought was the door, apparently he figured out how to unlock the dead bolt (1st time) and was on the front lawn strapping his bike helmet under the chin he just had surgery on and was going to ride his bike (this is less than 12 hrs after surgery). From then on, we let him play, I even let him go outside, but I tried to keep him calm and made him take breaks way more than I used to. The biggest thing was not letting them eat anything that isn't approved because that can tear the incision and cause bleeding. Now, in addition I should tell you my son has a pain deficit, things don't hurt him like they do most people, so his body can't tell him it needs to stop. Most kids will spend a day or 2 at least down because they hurt, which is their bodies way of recovering, but even if he doesn't, it can be just fine. I called the ENT and she was like, watch him and try not to let it get out of hand and he'll be fine and he is. And he finally is sleeping better and isn't constantly sick, I'm so glad we did it. Good luck!!



answers from Kansas City on

Our daughter needed tonsils and adenoids removed a couple of months ago, because she couldn't breathe at all while she was asleep. It took two weeks to be over the pain, and at that point all was well. Her activity level didn't really go down, and there was still no bleeding. The tylenol meltaways were the only way I could get her to take pain meds. They really are sturdier than we think they'll be.

Good luck with the decision!



answers from Minneapolis on

I would be surprised if your son felt like running around after tonsil surgery, even if he's an active kid. It is a difficult recovery, to be honest. My son, also a very active child, had his tonsils removed shortly after he turned 7. He was always a tough kid (he didn't tell me at age 6 when he broke his finger) so I thought the tonsils would be a piece of cake. Not so. He didn't feel like doing anything for about 9 days. The surgery was successful in the long run and I'm glad we did it, but not an easy recovery. Send me a message if you want more information. Good luck with your decision. I would also rely heavily on what the doctor advises or tells you. The doctor warned me it would be a difficult recovery, and I didn't believe him. Everything he told me turned out to be right on.



answers from Cleveland on

My 2 yr old had this same procedure done today!! Yes, I would have it all done at the same time. Our ENT said that any way to help our son breathe better is worth doing, and we will most likely regret it in the future if we opted out of the tonsil removal. Our son's tonsils were only a size 2, but he had sleep apnea so we went ahead with the entire procedure. Since your son's tonsils are so big, I would definately consider getting them out.

The doctors told us the same thing about not allowing him to run around too much after the surgery and absolutely no wrestling with his brother. I thought the same thing: how am I going to do that?? :)

I'll let you know how it goes!!



answers from Wichita on

Do them all sooner rather than later. My guy was 3 had all of the above but the last illness made his tonsils swell and not go back down, so he hadn't eaten much for a week before. He finished the surgery and wanted and ate a cheeseburger. he was up and running that next day. He never took the painkillers and i didn't let him outside but there was no keeping him down. No problems though. Your guy will do what he is able to do and then crash when he feels bad. I also agree with another of your responses, his "hyperactivity" may calm when he sleeps and isn't irritated constantly by not being able to breath.

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