>U Mom Knows Best: Tonsil Removal Surgery Information

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tonsil Removal Surgery Information

Any surgery can be scary for kids

Your doctor just told you that your child needs tonsils surgery and I am sure you have plenty of questions and concerns. This is how I found out that my child needed his tonsils removed. My son just had his tonsils and adenoids removed so I am going to tell you about our my son's experience. My son's surgery required a night in the hospital so I will also talk about that. Most tonsil surgeries are a day surgery but since my son had sleep apnea he needed to stay overnight. The tonsil surgery could cause my son's throat to swell and that could make breathing hard for my son after the surgery. So the doctor wanted to monitor my son in the hospital for 24 hours after he had his tonsillitis surgery.

Before the surgery

     My son was not allowed to eat or drink after midnight the day before the surgery. They want their stomach empty so they will not get sick during the surgery. We arrived at the hospital 2 hours before the surgery to check-in and sign papers. My son brought his favorite stuffed animal with to hold during the surgery. Then we waited in the surgery waiting room along with other people waiting for surgery. This room was also where families could wait while loved ones were having surgery. We waited for about an hour, so bring with something for your child to do while waiting to go back to the pre-op surgery room. My son passed the time playing games on my computer while we waited to be called back to the pre-operation room.

How to prepare the child

    As a parent, I would not give the child too much detail about the tonsillectomy surgery as this might frighten them. My son's doctor explained the surgery in a great way to him. She told him he was going to come to the hospital for a sleepover. He was going to get a drink that would make him silly or sleepy. Then he would go to a spaceship room and get a special space mask to put on. He would then hear a story and go to sleep. When he woke up he would get all the popsicles he wanted and have a sleepover. I also told my son he would get to eat all the ice cream he wanted and watch TV all day. My son was excited about the ice cream and never got afraid of going to get his tonsils out. I knew he would be in pain afterward but I would be there to comfort him so I felt there was no need to explain that part to him as I did not want him to worry. Too much information about surgery could make your child upset. The important thing is to talk about the positive like getting ice cream.

It was time to go to the pre-op room
 After waiting for an hour, a nurse called my son's name. The hospital person then walked my son and me down to the pre-op room. At the hospital we went to, they have separate rooms with doors for children while the grown-ups patients are in a room just separated by curtains. Parents are allowed to be with their children in the pre-operating room. In pre-op, there were books and videos to entertain my son while I talked with the nurse, anesthesiologist, and surgeon.

What happens in pre-op

         The nurse had my son strip down to his undies and put on a gown. She took his vitals and asked me questions about whether my son had a cold or drank or ate anything in the past 8 hours. The anesthesiologist came in next to explain to me what his role was in the surgery. I was informed that my son would be getting medicine to make him sleepy, 30 minutes beforehand. This medicine sometimes makes kids silly too. When the medicine kicks in your child won't remember anything until after the surgery. The anesthesiologist also told me that he would tell my son a bedtime story as he put the mask over his face to put him to sleep. He would also be there during the surgery to monitor him. The surgeon also came by to say hello before the surgery. My son adjusted well in the pre-op room as he enjoyed watching the videos.

Bring food

     We were in pre-op for about an hour. My son was able to watch Spiderman during this time. I read him some books too. Then the time came for my son to drink the medicine that would help him fall asleep. The nurse gave my son the sweet-tasting sleepy medicine and my son liked the taste. My son got very silly after he received the sleepy medicine. I talk to my son about going to the spaceship room and he rambled on about how he was going to fly in space. I knew the medicine was working to make him fall asleep. Once my son got sleepy and silly, the hospital staff came to bring him to the operating room for the tonsil surgery.  I hugged and kissed him my son. Then they wheeled my son to the operating room. I liked that they just wheel the bed from the pre-op room so my son did not have to be moved from the bed. The nurse walked me to the waiting room that was just for parents and told me she would come to get me after the surgery. This is a good time to get something to eat as after the surgery you won't have time. I brought food with me but our hospital has a Subway also. I also brought my computer with so I had something to do while my son was in surgery. 

Surgery is quick

  The surgery lasted about 1 1/2 hours. When it was over the surgeon came to the waiting to let me know everything went well. She told me the nurse would come to get me when my son woke up. About 20 minutes later, the nurse came and walked me to the post operating room. At my hospital children again have a separate room away from adult patients. My son was screaming in pain from the surgery so I was glad I was there to comfort him. The nurse stayed by his side the entire time. My son received medicine as needed through an IV that was placed in him before the surgery but after he went to sleep. My son was in post-op for 2 hours as he was having a hard time with the pain, most children only need an hour. Once my son was alert and the pain medicine was relieving the pain, they gave him a popsicle. Then another nurse came to take my son and me up to his room on the pediatric floor. Thankfully my son does not remember being in post-op. He remembers watching Spiderman in pre-op and then waking up to take an elevator ride up to his hospital room after the surgery. 

Unlimited popsicles

     My son stayed in bed and ate popsicles. My son also drank some Sprite. The IV had to stay in his arm for the night. My son had to be hooked up to a heart monitoring machine while he slept because of his sleep apnea. The tonsil surgery tends to make the throat swell so that could cause breathing issues. The doctor wanted to monitor my son for breathing complications. This was done with a pulse thing on his finger. My son was too tired to do anything but watch TV. The nurses gave him pain medicine and checked on him every 4 hours. I did not get any sleep that night while at the hospital as my son kept waking up from his sleep apnea every 30 minutes. We were allowed to go home 24 hours after the surgery. While in the hospital, my son stayed on a clear liquid diet. In the next 4 days, my son was able to be on a soft food diet.

    I will be writing another post on my son's tonsil recovery at home. The below links give great information about why my son needed tonsil and adenoid surgery. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer them. I know surgery can be scary for both parents and the child.

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saraH said...

I hope his recovery is going smoothly! It's so hard as a mom to watch our kids go through pain. :(


blondiefrommd said...

thanks for the great info - my daughter is going to see a ENT on the 20th she has sleep apnea as well and huge tonsils - she is super hyper with behavior problems Im hoping this is the start of something that we can get her to calm down

Bola said...

I really enjoyed your candid and thorough review of your son's tonsillectomy. Your account will help reassure and comfort other parents out there with kids going in for surgery.

Melissa said...

What a trooper! My son had dental surgery & was in post-op quite a while too since he couldn't seem to wake up. I hope your son's recovery is going good!

Mom Knows Best said...

Thanks he is doing well. He had a rough week of pain but now is sleeping better.

Mom Knows Best said...

If you have any questions just ask. Have the ENT look at the adenoids too as they can cause sleep apnea too.

Jamie said...

What a little doll!! It will be so worth it in the end, I know. My son cracked me up the other day, he said he wished he could do it again to get the ice cream for dinner!! ha/ha

Kira said...

Thank you for sharing. Your son is adorable!

Buzz4Mommies said...

This is such a terrific post Tara and would come in so handy for anyone about to go through this with their child!

blessedchick said...

I had my 2 youngest sons have that same surgery at the same time last summer. That was tough doing recovery with both of them but we made it through! glad your son had a successful surgery!

Mom Knows Best said...

Wow, I am think my other son needs his out too as they are swollen.

Lexis @ BabyStuff.tips said...

Such a great post. Hope your son is doing well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. My son is having this surgery next week.

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