Postoperative care after tonsillectomy: what’s the evidence?

Postoperative care after tonsillectomy: what’s the evidence?
Author Information (click to view)

Carpenter P, Hall D, Meier JD,

Carpenter P, Hall D, Meier JD, (click to view)

Carpenter P, Hall D, Meier JD,


Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery 2017 10 11() doi 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000420
The purpose of this review is to evaluate the current literature regarding postoperative management after tonsillectomy in children.

Controversy remains regarding the ideal medication regimen to manage pain after tonsillectomy. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are routinely used, although concerns of more severe postoperative hemorrhage with ibuprofen remain. Narcotics are prescribed commonly, but with extreme caution in children with severe obstructive sleep apnea. Although not always utilized by the authors, additional adjunctive medications such as perioperative dexamethasone, ketamine, and local infiltration of lidocaine into tonsillar pillars may decrease postoperative pain. Systematic reviews have shown that dexamethasone does not increase risk of posttonsillectomy bleeding.

Adenotonsillectomy is one of the most common procedures performed on children and may have significant morbidity from postoperative pain and bleeding. Managing pain remains challenging and the optimal treatment regimen has not been definitively identified. Many medications and alternative therapies have been studied and suggest possible benefit.

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