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Tonsil removal - what to ask your doctor

Definition

Your child may have throat infections and need tonsillectomy, surgery to take out the tonsils. These glands are located at the back of the throat. Tonsillectomy may be done at the same time as adenoid removal, surgery to remove the adenoids. These glands are located above the tonsils, in the back of the nose.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your child’s doctor or nurse to care for your child after surgery.

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about tonsil removal; Tonsillectomy - what to ask your doctor

Questions

Questions to ask about having tonsillectomy:

  • Why does my child need a tonsillectomy?
  • Are there other treatments that can be tried? Is it safe not to get tonsils removed?
  • Can my child still get strep throat and other throat infections after tonsillectomy?

Questions to ask about the surgery:

  • Where is the surgery done? How long does it take?
  • What type of anesthesia will my child need? Will my child feel any pain?
  • What are the risks of the surgery?
  • When does my child need to stop eating or drinking before the anesthesia? What if my child is breastfeeding?
  • When do my child and I need to arrive on the day of the surgery?

Questions for after tonsillectomy:

  • Will my child be able to go home on the same day as surgery?
  • What type of symptoms will my child have while they are healing from surgery?
  • Will my child be able to eat normally when we get home? Are there foods that will be easier for my child to eat or drink? Are there foods that my child should avoid?
  • What should I give my child to help with pain after the surgery?
  • What should I do if my child has any bleeding?
  • Will my child be able to do normal activities? How long will it be before my child is back to full strength?

References

Baugh RF, Archer SM, Mitchell RB, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline : Tonsillectomy in Children. Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery;2011:144.

Wetmore RF. Tonsils and Adenoids. Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. St. Louis, MO: WB Saunders; 2007;chap 380.


Review Date: 2/28/2011
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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