Tonsillectomy. What parent wants to hear this from their child’s ear, nose and throat specialist? Probably not too many of us. With summer coming up, some of us may be facing this procedure with our little one. To best prepare, Dr. Michael T. Falcone with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, PA answered some commonly asked questions that can best prepare us for the procedure and the days and weeks following.
Q: How long does the procedure take?
A: The procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes. When adding time for going to sleep and waking up, it is approximately 30 minutes.
Q: What is the average recovery time?
A: The first week is the roughest. The second week is usually mild to moderate throat pain. After two weeks, kids are typically back to business as usual.
Q: If done during the school year, how long should I expect him/her to be out?
A: I generally tell parents to expect one week off from school.
Q: What food/drink items should I have ready at home for my child to enjoy after surgery and during recovery?
A: Children may have anything they want to eat or drink after surgery. It is most important that they stay hydrated. Popsicles, Jell-O and Italian ice are good to have on hand that will help to keep them hydrated. I have had patients eat pizza and hot wings on the day of surgery. They can really have whatever they want, including ice cream for breakfast.
Q: What food/drink should I NOT have at home after surgery and during the recovery?
A: There are not many restrictions but I would suggest to avoid spicy or acidic foods as these can cause discomfort. Also, bad breath for two weeks is common following surgery. A parent may be tempted to give an older child mouthwash. Don’t do this, it would burn really bad.
Q: What should I expect from my child in the hours after surgery? Days?
A: Parents often tell me that the first few days following surgery were better than what they expected. Some parents tell me that days five through seven were worse than they expected. It’s at this point that the scabs in the back of the throat start to come off. It is common for pain to worsen around that time.
Q: What activities should we avoid after surgery and for how long?
A: For children there are not too many restrictions. The main risk of surgery is a small chance of bleeding from the back of the throat. I tell parents that the child should avoid any strenuous activity that causes them to strain. Straining briefly elevates your blood pressure and could increase the risk of bleeding. Most typical childhood activities/play is acceptable as the child can tolerate them.
Q: What care is required out of me as a parent/caregiver?
A: The adults have two responsibilities. They are to dispense pain medication as needed and make sure that the child stays well hydrated.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Falcone or any of our Board Certified physicians, please call 704-295-3000 or visit goodsenses.com for more information on our services.