UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Post tonsillectomy complications

Keywords: ENT, post tonsillectomy bleeding, T and A (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/17/2020 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 2/26/2020)
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Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A) is the second most common ambulatory surgery performed in the US.  Children younger than 3 years, children with craniofacial disorders or sleep apnea are typically admitted overnight as studies have shown an increase rate of airway or respiratory complications in this population.

The most common late complications include bleeding and dehydration.  Other complications include nausea, respiratory issues and pain.

Post-operatively, the overall 30-day emergency department return rate is up to 13.3%.  Children ages 2 and younger were more likely to present to the ED.  There is significantly higher risk of dehydration for children under 4 years.  Children over the age of 6 had significantly higher bleeding risk and need for reoperation for hemorrhage control.

References

Lindquist NR, Feng Z and Mukerji SS.  Age-related causes of emergency department visits after pediatric adenotonsillectomy at a tertiary pediatric referral center.  International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2019; 127: 109668.