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The TAG team of common surgeries for children


Over the last couple of weeks we have taken several calls from parents asking questions about one of 3 surgeries that are recommended on a relatively regular basis for children. One is a tosillectomy (removal of tonsils), one an andenoidectomy ( removal of adenoids) and the 3rd is grommets. Here is Kids on Track's guide to the main things you need to know.

TONSILLECTOMY : There are 2 tonsils which are small collections of tissue at the back of the throat. They are there as part of the early warnning system for infections however, in instances where they are particularly large or are becoming infected regularly, a doctor may suggest they are removed. These recurrent infections are known as recurrent tonsilitis and are defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as being 7 in the past year; 5/year for 2 years or 3/ year for 3 years. Removal of tonsils in most cases has no long lasting effects. Following surgery however your child will require regular pain killers and may be sent home with antibiotics depending on your doctor's policy. Most children will need to be in hospital overnight. There is often some bleeding after 4- 8 days but this can continue for up to 3 weeks in some cases. Most children need 2 weeks at home following surgery and need to avoid rough play to protect them from bleeding. The best food and drink to start with are cool and clear - water, popsicles, juice, apple sauce, pasta or ice cream. Avoid spicy foods or those with sharp edges and acidic drinks such as orange juice.

ADENOIDECTOMY: The Adenoids are made up of lymphoid tissue and are at the back of the nose. In cases where the adenoids are particularly large, children may suffer fom snoring, sleep apnoea or recurrent sinus and ear infections. Most children are able to go home the same day and after taking it easy for a couple of days can resume regular activities. Some doctors recommend a week off school. It is common for children to have a stuffy nose afterwards and saline nose drops can help with this. Your child is also likely to have a prescription for regular pain medication which they will need to take for a few days.

GROMMETS : Grommets or " tympanostomy" are small tubes which are inserted into the ear drums and to ventilate the ear in children who suffer from recurrent ear infections or glue ear. Recurrent in this instance is approximately 3 in 6 months but grommets may also be suggested for children where there is a concern about their hearing, speech development or balance. The grommets help all the fluid built up from the infections to drain away allowing the ear function normally once again. Grommet insertion generally does not require an overnight stay in hospital but most children will require antibiotic ear drops following surgery. The grommets will dislodge within 6-12 months. Although children can swim with grommets, it is not recommended for the first week and ear plugs are a good idea when they are in the water.