Tonsillectomy – Advice Sheet for Parents

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY1077/2022
  • Departments: Day Surgery (DSU), Paediatrics
  • Last Updated: 1 October 2022


This advice sheet has been produced to give information and advice to parents of children having had a tonsillectomy. It is not meant to replace discussion between you and your doctor.  If after reading it, you require further explanation please discuss this with the relevant person who has been caring for you.

Your Child’s Consultant is _________________________

Surgery performed by ____________________________

Should you need any further help or advice, please telephone:

Ward 34 (Acorn Ward) women and Children’s Hospital

Telephone (01482) 382609 or 382679

School / Nursery

Your child can return to school after TWO weeks. If you feel your child needs a little longer to recover we are happy for you to use your own judgement.

Pain relief

You will need to give pain relief medication to your child for the next 5 ~ 7 days. We recommend paracetamol syrup and Ibuprofen syrup.  (Ibuprofen may not be suitable for asthmatics).  The doctor may prescript your child with another pain relief medication to be given over the first few days after surgery. Pain from this operation can be most intense around 5 days after surgery and earache is not uncommon.

Eating and Drinking

It is VERY important for your child to eat ‘normal food’.

Nothing too sharp like crisps, also nothing too soft such as jellies and ice cream (except as an additional treat) Chewing and swallowing helps healing.

Toast and cereals are often favourites to start with.

After your child’s operation

Your child will need to stay in the unit for a minimum of 6 hours.  If there is no evidence of bleeding at this stage and your child has eaten they can be discharged home.

2 adults must be with your child during the recovery period for their safety.  If bleeding occurs you must be able to get immediately to the Children’s Emergency department.

Bleeding and other complications are more likely in children who have not had adequate pain relief medication and have not been encouraged to eat properly.  These problems can occur as late as 7 – 10 days after surgery.

It is helpful to give some pain relief medication 30 – 40 minute before a meal as this will help ease the discomfort from eating.

  • Your child’s breath may smell for a few days, this is normal.
  • Provide plenty of water or juice drinks and encourage your child to brush their teeth at least twice a day.
  • Keep your child indoors for the first 3 – 4 days
  • Keep your child away from smoky and dusty atmospheres
  • Keep your child away from anyone suffering from coughs and colds for the first two weeks

You should call the Ward if:

  • Your child is having a lot of pain and the given pain relief medication does not seem to help.
  • If your child’s temperature is raised and paracetamol / ibuprofen does not bring it down.  Or you are unsure if their temperature is up or not.
  • If there is bleeding from the nose or mouth attend the children’s Emergency department immediately.
  • If your child vomits black or reddy / brown vomit more than once.

Information about your child

We collect and use your child’s information to provide your child with care and treatment.  As part of your child’s care, your child’s information will be shared between members of the healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet.  Your child’s information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service and to help with research.  Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health or social organisations that provide your child with care.  All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it.  If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for your child.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your child’s carer needs information about your child’s health and well-being and about your child’s care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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