Post-Surgical Instructions for Children


It is normal to experience swelling and pain following surgery. In general, swelling usually peaks 24 to 48 hours after the procedure in children. In order to hasten recovery, it is important to drink as many fluids as possible to prevent dehydration. It is also essential to take deep breaths to prevent fever.  Dr. Li recommends giving your child the prescriptive pain medications as prescribed (every 4 hours, including awakening your child during the night) to maintain the level of pain control.  After the first few days, the medications can be reduced as pain gradually subsides.

It is possible that some children may experience some earaches.  This is due to swelling in the area of the tonsillectomy, which is near the Eustachian tube, causing closure of the tube.  This will gradually subside within a few days


It is normal to experience minor bleeding from operative sites. However, if perfuse bleeding occurs (for tonsillectomy, usually more than a teaspoon amount), contact Dr. Li immediately or dial 911.  Usually, there is approximately 1% risk of bleeding within the first two weeks following tonsillectomy.


It is imperative that you contact Dr Li immediately or dial 911 if your child has significant breathing difficulty.  However, it is important to note that after turbinate reduction, it is normal to experience some nasal stuffiness.   Additionally, it is common to notice gurgling and increasing snoring for a few days after adenotonsillectomy due to temporary tissue swelling.


The diet is usually affected due to the pain.  For most of the children, it is recommended that clear liquid diet (including ice cream) is given for the first days after the operation.  The diet can be advanced to thick fluids and soft food such as scrambled eggs and mashed potatos within 2 days.  Further dietary advancement to soft pasta, fish and chicken is possible within 3-4 days.  However, please maintain a soft diet for two weeks post-operatively.


It is important to limit the physical activity for the first 7-10 days post-surgery in order to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Schedule an Appointment

Please contact our office to schedule a post-operative appointment within one week after surgery.