Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Surgical Instructions

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are the risks and complications of tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy?

The patient's surgery will be performed safely and with care in order to obtain the best possible results. The surgery may involve risks of unsuccessful results, complications, or injury from both known and unforeseen causes. Because individuals differ in their response to surgery, their anesthetic reactions, and their healing outcomes, ultimately there can be no guarantee made as to the results or potential complications. Furthermore, surgical outcomes may be dependent on preexisting or concurrent medical conditions.

The following complications have been reported in the medical literature. This list is not meant to be inclusive of every possible complication. They are listed here for your information only, not to frighten you, but to make you aware and more knowledgeable concerning this surgical procedure. Although many of these complications are rare, all have occurred at one time or another in the hands of experienced surgeons practicing the standard of community care. Anyone who is contemplating surgery must weigh the potential risks and complications against the potential benefits of the surgery or any alternative to surgery.

  1. Failure to alleviate every episode of sore throat, or resolve subsequent or concurrent ear or sinus infections/nasal drainage. Possible need for additional surgery.
  2. Bleeding. In very rare situations there may be a need for blood products or a blood transfusion. The patient has the right, should he/she choose, to have autologous or designated donor directed blood prepared in advance in case an emergency transfusion was necessary. Patients are encouraged to consult with a doctor if they are interested in this option.
  3. Infection, dehydration, prolonged pain, and/or impaired healing that could lead to the necessity for hospital admission for fluids and/or pain control.
  4. A permanent change in voice or nasal regurgitation (rare).
  5. Failure to improve the nasal airway or resolve snoring, sleep apnea, or mouth breathing. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 11/3/2015
References
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy in children: Indications and contraindications
UpToDate.com

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