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Adenoidectomy is a common surgical procedure in children with infected adenoids, ears or obstructions to breathing. The recovery period for the next 1 week requires your special attention. Expect for your child to be out of school or camp for a period of 2-3 days. We hope this information will be helpful to your during your child’s recovery period. Recognizing each child’s response might be different; we encourage you to discuss your concerns with us.

During the post-operative period you might observe

  1. Pain: A moderate amount of neck and ear discomfort is to be expected. Sometimes it is more painful on the second day than immediately after the operation. Most children do quite well with Tylenol or Motrin every 4-6 hours. These medications can be used individually, or alternating every 3 hours. For older children, sometimes the doctor will prescribe a narcotic pain medication. Signs of pain in small children can include refusal to open mouth or swallow, refusal to eat or drink, crying and irritability.

  2. Swelling of the tongue, palate (roof of the mouth), or uvula (punching bag in back of throat): Swelling of these structures may cause some discomfort but usually resolves in a few days. Sleeping sideways (as opposed to flat on the back) or with the head elevated can alleviate some of the nighttime symptoms.

  3. Voice changes: Removing the adenoids alters the resonating chamber of the airways and can result in a less nasal voice that is also frequently perceived as squeaky or higher pitched.

  4. Persistent snoring: Snoring may persist for a few weeks as a result of swelling at the surgical site.

  5. Foul smelling breath: Bad breath frequently occurs but should clear up around a week.

  6. Low-grade fever: 99-101 degree temperatures are common within the first 24 hours. This usually improves with time and oral intake.

  7. Leakage of air or liquid from the nose with speaking or swallowing: The palate muscles are typically very sore and may have some difficulty closing off the nose from the mouth. This is typically temporary, lasting a few days. On rare occasion, this may last for a few months.

  8. The initial post-operative appointment will be scheduled for 1-2 weeks after the procedure with the Physician Assistant.
Gene C. Liu, M.D., Inc.


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