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.

Quick GuideEar Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Ear Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What happens before surgery?

In most situations the surgery is performed as an outpatient at either a hospital or a surgery center. In both facilities, quality care is provided without the expense and inconvenience of an overnight stay. An anesthesiologist will monitor the patient throughout the procedure. Usually, the anesthesiologist (or surgery staff) will call the night before surgery to review the medical history. If they are unable to reach the patient the night before surgery, they will talk with the patient the morning of the surgery. If the doctor has ordered preoperative laboratory studies, the patient should arrange to have these done several days in advance. The patient should arrange for someone to take them to the surgical facility, back home, and to spend the first night after surgery with the patient.

The patient should not take aspirin, or any product containing aspirin, within 10 days of the date of the surgery. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen, Advil, and others) should not be taken within 7 days of the date of surgery. Many over-the-counter products contain aspirin or ibuprofen-related drugs so it is important to check all medications carefully. If there is any question please call the office or consult a pharmacist. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an acceptable pain reliever. Usually the doctor will give the patient several prescriptions at the preoperative visit. It is best to have these filled prior to the date of surgery so they are available when you return home.

If it is a child who is having the surgery, it is advised that you be honest and up front with them as you explain their upcoming surgery. Encourage the child to think of this as something the doctor will do to make them healthier. Let them know that they will be safe and that you will be close by. A calming and reassuring attitude will greatly ease the child's anxiety. Let them know that if they have pain it will only be for a short time period, and that they can take medicines which will greatly reduce it. You may want to consider a visit to the surgical facility or hospital several days in advance to that the child can become familiar with the setting. Contact the surgical facility or hospital to arrange for a tour.

The patient must not eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to the time of surgery. This includes even water, candy, or chewing gum. Anything in the stomach increases the chances of an anesthetic complication.

If the patient is ill or has a fever the day before surgery, call the surgeon's office. If the patient wakes up sick the day of surgery, still proceed to the surgical facility as planned. The doctor will decide if it's safe to proceed with surgery. However, if your child has chickenpox, do not bring your child to the office or to the surgical facility.

Reviewed on 11/3/2015
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy in children: Indications and contraindications


1.Getty Images




5.Getty Images



8.Getty Images



Subscribe to MedicineNet's Children's Health & Parenting Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors