Tonsil and adenoid removal - discharge

Your child had surgery to remove the adenoid glands from their throat. These glands are located between the airway you breathe into through your nose and the back of your throat. Often, adenoid removal is done at the same time as a tonsillectomy, surgery to remove the tonsils.

What to Expect at Home

Complete recovery takes about 1 - 2 weeks. If only the adenoids are removed, the recovery will typically be only a few days. Your child will have pain or discomfort that will slowly ease up. Your child’s tongue, mouth, throat, or jaw may be sore from the instrument that was used during surgery.

While healing, your child may have a:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Drainage from the nose, which may be bloody
  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Low-grade fever for 1 to 2 days after surgery
  • Swelling of the uvula in the back of the throat


If your child is bleeding in the throat or mouth, have them spit the blood out instead of swallowing it. Soft foods and cool drinks may help ease throat discomfort.

Some soft foods and drinks to try are Jell-O, pudding, pasta, mashed potatoes, cream of wheat, applesauce, low-fat ice cream, sherbet, yogurt, smoothies, scrambled eggs, popsicles, cool soup, water, and juice.

Foods and drinks to avoid are:

  • Orange and grapefruit juice and other drinks that contain a lot of acid
  • Hot and spicy foods
  • Rough foods like raw crunchy vegetables and cold cereal.
  • Dairy products that are high in fat. They may increase mucous and make it hard to swallow.

Your child’s doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics and pain drugs for your child. It is important to give your child these medicines because they will help your child recover faster. Give only the drugs the doctor recommends.

Avoid drugs that contain ibuprofen or aspirin. They may cause bleeding. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a better choice for pain after surgery. Ask your child’s doctor if it is okay for your child to take acetaminophen.

Wound Care

A few days after surgery your child may gently gargle with baking soda mixed with water. Ask your child’s doctor for other suggestions to help with pain or sore throat.

When to Call the Doctor

Call the doctor if your child has:

  • Low-grade fever that does not go away or a fever over 101 °F
  • Bright red blood coming from their mouth or nose. If bleeding is severe, take your child to the emergency room or call 911.
  • If your child throws up and there is a lot of blood in it.
  • Breathing problems. If breathing problems are severe, take your child to the emergency room or call 911.
  • Nausea and vomiting that continues 24 hours after surgery

Alternate Names

Adenoidectomy - discharge; Removal of adenoid glands - discharge


Wetmore RF. Tonsils and adenoids. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 380.

Update Date: 10/13/2012

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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