Tonsils & Adenoids
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Tonsils & Adenoids
Our 7 year old is waiting for tonsil/adenoid surgery - it
will likely be a 6 week wait - in the meantime she is
having pretty severe sleep apnea - there is not much we
can do to expedite the surgery (Kaiser - wait in line) so
I guess my question is more of a concern about her health
in the meantime - how long can a kid go with really bad
sleep apnea before more serious complications present? Is
this a 'standard' amount of time to have to wait? Are
there other parents out there that have been through this?
It is so bad that I don't sleep for watching and trying to
get her to breathe....six weeks feels like an eternity...
If your child has SEVERE, DIAGNOSED-SLEEP APNEA Kaiser should have given you
an alarm for her to wear at night? She is most likely already sleeping in
room? Longterm effects are nil assuming she doesn't stop breathing for an
extended period of time and there will be none if the surgery is successful?
your doctor back and ask for a re-assessment of priority based on the
probability of long-term brain damage due to oxygen deprivation....that comes
from the airway guy, my husband. Good Luck.
Contact acupuncturist Mina Karimbadi, she has lots of experience treating
children with tonsil/adenoid issues, even avoiding the need for surgery for
She was very helpful when my boyfriends daughter had swollen adenoids.
Hi - We were in the exact same position with our 4 year old daughter a few
years ago. She was a mess both physically from sleep deprivation and
emotionally because she was unable to think. It was horrible and I slept in
bed every night for fear she would stop breathing altogether. We were with
Kaiser too and I complained non-stop until they changed her surgery date. Be
that squeaky wheel and, hopefully, you will get surgery sooner. Exaggerate
you have to. And it is dangerous, it interferes with their development so it
should not be delayed. On the positive side, once our daughter had the
there was immediate and profound improvement. So there is a light at the end
of the tunnel! While you're waiting, do all the little things you can to
comfortable. You've probably already heard these tips but we did the
eat extremely healthy foods (nothing processed), drink lots of water, raise
head end of her bed, use a firm anti-allergy pillow, and consider trying
Rights (size small might work). Hang in there!
I am a pediatric otolaryngologist (ENT) at UCSF. I
understand how hard it is to wait and that sometimes you
can feel like you are back in the newborn period with
frequent checking to see if your child is still breathing!
While obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be very
distressing and disruptive of both your child's and your
sleep, it is safe to wait 6 weeks. The complications of
OSA occur over years, rather than weeks. These can include
poor school performance, distracted or hyperactive
behavior, dental changes, and in very severe cases, heart
problems. If your child is otherwise healthy, a few weeks
or months delay should not harm him/her. If you have more
questions, feel free to email me!
My daughter has ridiculously large tonsils (I can't
believe she can swallow anything). ENT says they need to
come out. I would appreciate any advice from any parents
of toddlers (mine is 3) who have moved forward with the
surgery. I am very nervous, and would love some idea of
what to expect from the whole thing (Children's Hospital)
My daughter was about a year older than yours when she had her tonsils (and
adenoids) out. It was such a hard decision, one I kept putting off, trying to avoid,
and worrying endlessly over. My daughter, however, had starting experiencing
bouts of apnea and had fallen down to the 5th percentile for weight, so clearly
something had to be done, and we went ahead with the surgery. It has changed
her quality of life and I now regret that we waited so long to do it! She sleeps
beautifully and within less than a year has reached the 30th percentile for weight.
She has never been healthier! We are really happy with the results.
Before the surgery I consulted with a homeopath who suggested arnica montana
for the recovery period. I don't know if it really helped or if it was a coincidence,
but her recovery was AMAZINGLY smooth. She didn't even need any pain
medication and was up and about within a day. It's worth a shot to give it a try, in
My 2 year old son is scheduled for Tonsil and Adenoid removal at
Children's Hospital. Dr. Wessman will be performing the surgery. For
parents who have gone down this road , can you offer any pre surgery
tips, pain relief and recovery tips? I understand the recovery process
is very painful and can last up to 14 days. I haven't seen much
written on recovery and the only advice is generic and general (lots
of cold fluids). I'd like to know things like how to get your toddler
to take the meds or drink when they don't want to. What distracted
them from the pain? Was there a particular type of pain med that was
better than another? Please share your experience, I would greatly
One of the worst decisions I ever made as a parent was to give my son, five
years ago, pain relief ''as needed.'' My son had very deep and large tonsils,
and my ENT doc and the nurses warned me that his pain would be more
pronounced because of it. After a day or two of waiting for the tylenol with
Codeine to kick in, because I waited for him to ''need'' the painkiller, I finally
got on board with prophylactically (in other words given on a round-the-
clock schedule) giving the medication. Once, your child experiences acute
pain, good luck with getting him or her to swallow anything. I had been
concerned with over-medicating or causing the attendant constipation that
Codeine can cause and realized, quickly, that the pain was the priority.
Another thing that seemed to help were lollipops, which could be purchased
at Long's, at the time, which were on these kind of bendy, soft, looped
holders. Your child is too young for throat lozenges, like mine was, so this is
a soothing alternative to lozenges. And, popsicles and plenty of them. 2
weeks was about the time period for significant pain and no hard or crusty
foods. Finally, we were told that the act of swallowing promoted healing.
Good luck to you and your child.
Been there, done that
Hi-- our son (now 9) had this operation at 3. The recovery was tough!
Here are the things I remember the most clearly: 1) request to be in the
recovery room at the hospital before your child actually wakes up. Our
son had a different surgery at 18 months and woke without us-- freaked
out, screaming, a horrible scene with very unsympathetic staff. So for
surgery at 3 we insisted with all doctors, nurses etc.-- we had to make a
real stink to get in that room before he woke up but we did, and he saw
our faces first. 2) getting the medicine in him once we were home was
AWEFUL!! He cried, writhed, spat it out repeatedly, silly nurse on advise
line thought she had it covered by getting him on the phone and telling
him to take his medicine. Ha! We tried different flavors, chewable version,
all manner of special spoons and droppers. In the end my husband sat on
him, guestimated how much was spat out with each try, and repeated
process until enough got down throat to approximate a dose. Then we
made a sticker chart to record doses and son had the choice between
taking medicine the regular way with mom, or do it the sit-on way with
dad. I think we had to do one more sit-on-him routine before he took the
medicine the regular way. Repeat, it was aweful! We were terrified about
infection --husband grew up with doctors, nurses and hospitals-- and of
course it all worked out in the end. Note this might not be your
experience-- our second kid loves medicine!!
Our kid is fine now
Hi, my daughter had Adenoid removal only surgery with Dr.
Wessman last year at 2*3/4 yrs. She was diagnosed at 2yrs
but we decided to wait until older for personal reasons.
Dr. Wessman/the entire Child's Hosp team is fantastic. We
opted to give her the meds prior to anesthesia that makes
the child quite dopey yet will erase the memory of
actually going under the anesthetic (and you leaving) that
is so scary for them.
Our daughter only had the Adenoidectomy, but the surgery
itself was surprisingly fast. The wait post-op was long;
the nurses did not bring us back to recovery until she was
already waking up. That was tough as she awoke screaming
as most kids do as it is scary and confusing. Please
push, gently, to remind them to get you out of the waiting
room the moment they will allow you to be with your son.
It took awhile for our daughter to come out of the
anesthesia, but nothing out of the ordinary. All in all,
it really was quite fast. Her surgery was at 8a; we were
on our way home by 9:30a our daughter fast asleep. Around
midday she ate some soup, but sleeping most of the day was
the way she recovered. She awoke for ice chips, soup, or
pedialite popsicles. I was expecting a much more
difficult/lengthy recovery, and was surprised at how
fantastic she rebounded.
They gave us a scrip for a Tylenol/codeine painkiller,
which we tried once & she immediately threw it up. We
stuck instead w/a fairly strong dose of Children's Tylenol
for that first 24 hours post surgery and it worked
perfectly for her. The second 24 hours we still gave her
the Tylenol, not as much nor as often. By day 3 it was
almost business as usual: still gave her something at
night to help her sleep, but both appetite and behavior
were just about back to normal. Her voice was hoarse for
about one week, but that was it.
In advance of the surgery we talked casually to her about
going to the hospital, then a few days prior really
walking her through what the night before (no 3am glass of
milk) and morning of would be like. The staff at
Children's were TOPS and everyone fully engaged her, as
well as us.
We wish you the very very best, and hope you and your son
have the same experience/success that we did.
My child had an adenotonsillectomy at Children's Hospital with Dr.
Desman a few years ago. he was 4, not 2, but it wasn't so bad. A few
rough days with a very sore throat, but he was much better in about 5
days. It is my understanding that the younger children recover much faster
than older- teenagers take about 10-14 days to recover, and adults can
take even longer.
Dr. Wesman, the anesthesiologist, and the nurses at Children's were all
fantastic! They explained everything to us, gave us instructions about how
to take care of him at home, and what to feed him. Dr. Wesman ordered
some Tylenol with codeine, and it worked pretty well. My child was a little
fussy, but it really wasn't so bad.
Try not to worry too much; lots of kids need this surgery, and after a week
or so you will probably be glad you decided to go ahead with it. My child
slept much better after having the surgery, and got sick much less often. It
was definitely worth it!
Also, before the day of surgery we had an appointment with a specialist at
Chidren's who was great; he explained everything that would happen to
my son, and showed him some of the equipment, and did some play
therapy. It really helped my child understand what would happen, and I
felt a lot less anxious, too. You can ask Dr. Wesman's office staff about it,
I think they still offer that service to all surgery patients.
I'm seeking any anecdotal comments from parents whose
young children were also prescribed Flonase. In our case,
our daughter was recently prescribed Flonase for swollen
adenoids - her symptoms (likely not due to alergies) are
1) inability to breathe through her nose, though no
congestion is present and 2) mild sleep apnea due to mouth
breathing and also slightly enlarged tonsils. I completely
agree with her pediatrician that it's best to try to go
slowly down the path before we go straight to surgery, the
spray may or may not decrease the size of the adenoids -
but it seems a worthwhile risk before all-out removal. Of
course, I have also read scary things about Flonase (loss
of ability to smell at all, other reactions) and know
there are risks with steriods, although the dose is very
small and we would not consider this a long-term (more
than 4-6 week) remedy. I'd love to know if you were in the
same boat with your child, and what your thoughts are.
FWIW we are not anti-surgery if that is the best remedy,
but would love to hear about other possible routes. Thanks
for your time in advance.
mouth breather's mama
I recently have been suffering with the same symptom for no
apparent reason: I cannot breath through my right nostril
and yet there's no congestion. It's uncomfortable and
disturbing. I always try ''natural'' cures before
prescriptions. This works for me: mix 8 oz of distilled
or boiled water with 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt and 1/4 tsp
baking soda, use a nasal spray bottle, spray one or two
squirts into nosrils in morning and evening. I got
the ''recipe'' from the internet. This has eased my symptoms
tremendously. Coincidentally, I just read through the
Flonase pamphlet two days ago: it's about 2 1/2 feet wide
by 1 1/2 feet high! I was disturbed that it can stunt
growth and make you gain weight, among other things. I
100% believe in taking prescriptions when NECESSESARY,
which to me means the symptoms are far worse than possible
side effects. On a side note, I have been hearing more
stories of this same symptom, my feeling is that some
environmental factor is damaging our sensitive mucosal
lining. I also had ''dry'' eye problems when I lived in the
bay area, possibly from air pollution. Good luck,hope it
helps and hope it goes away forever!
We tried Flonase for my mouth-breathing boy whose adenoids
were huge but he *hated* the medicine (and he's usually
quite tolerant of these things). Apparently the taste of it
running down his throat was quite unpleasant. So we went
with the surgery sooner than later and could not have been
happier. He could breathe through his nose for the first
time, and no longer snored or woke himself up due to trouble
breathing. My only regret was that it wasn't suggested
sooner (he was in 4th grade at the time).
We were in the same situation with our daughter. We tried
Flonase, she had a bad reaction (hives) - another one (I
forget the name) didn't work that well. We opted for surgery
since it turned out she had a chronic strep infection. It
was the best decision ever, wish we had done it years
earlier. She's barely been sick in the four years since we
did it, and she used to get sick all the time. It stopped
the snoring too. I'm actually surprised they're not telling
you to yank them right now, sleep apnea is usually an
indication all by itself for surgery.
I have been told I need to have a tonsillectomy. I have read that it
is extremely painful. Right now I am feeling dizzy just thinking
about it-and I just don't know if I can go through with it. Anyone
else out there done the procedure and lived. Am I being a wimp- or is
it a much bigger deal than when children have it done. By the way, I
I had this done when I was in my late 20s. It really did hurt incredibly
and I was off
work for 2 weeks (my job involves a lot of public speaking--this would
impossible). So yes, it is not a fun experience at all. If you have kids
you will need
someone to care for them for days afterwards because the painkillers
necessary for me) really knock you out.
That said, I am glad I did it because before, I got sick all the time.
Since then, it's
I had my tonsils and adenoids out when I was 14 years old. I
had tonsilitis over & over again my whole life before that and
never again after. Seems like I was always down with some
throat or resperatory problem, then afterwards, none.
I remember that it hurt. I ate ice cream, yogurt, ice, & took
some pain killers at first. But it only hurt a bit more than
tonsilitis so.. Plus, I lost some fat and could wear my shirt
tied up which was cool... albeit short lived.
I also had 3 unrelated operations here at Alta Bates and I
gotta say I was sad to leave. They took very good care of me. I
loved staying in bed with the motor remote and magazines, TV,
pillows...lovely nurses fetching me everything..the food was
I'd do it again.
I have to admit, it is rather painful having your tonsils removed
past a certain age. If you need to have them removed, please be
brave and do so ASAP. I began having problems with my tonsils
when I was 14 years old (they would swell, I wouldn't be able to
eat, etc) and eventually they were so infected that puss began to
come out of them. This persuaded doctors to schedule me for
surgery at the age of 17. I am 21 now and couldn't be happier
(using my mom's BPN account to respond to your post)
I was out of work and school for 2 weeks because I couldn't eat
(which would cause me to feel lightheaded and dizzy). However,
the medicine the doctor gives you works extremely well and most
of the time, you are asleep so it isn't too bad.
I can also tell you that the only foods you'll be able to eat
are pudding, ice cream (make sure you switch ice creams every
couple of days or you'll feel bored), mashed potatoes,
lots of water, tea, etc.
I wish you the very best luck with your tonsillectomy and your
I had my tonsils out about 10 years ago, when I was in my late
20s. It was an outpatient procedure: I went into the hospital for
the surgery in the morning, and went home again that afternoon.
While it's been a while and I'm now fuzzy on the details, I do
remember took me significantly longer to recover than I had
counted on. The pain was pretty unpleasant, like a really,
really, really bad sore throat. I couldn't eat much beyond thin
soups, ice cream, and jello, and I don't think I could talk for
at least a week. The pain reliever I was prescribed was great
because it came in a cold liquid form. The worst part was getting
over the anesthesia -- it made me very queasy, so much so that
for about 24 hours right after the surgery I threw up every time
I sat up. Vomiting when you have stitches in the back of your
mouth is *not* fun. But don't let all this deter you -- I'm so,
so glad I had it done, since my overall health improved
significantly. I'd say that you should ask your doctor lots of
questions in advance (for example: how long does it take most
people to recover? What kind of painkillers are prescribed? How
can you be expected to react to the anesthesia?), provide
yourself with at least a week of recovery at home and take it
slow afterwards, and make sure you have someone to help you
during that time. Oh, and have lots, and lots of ice -- slivers
of ice to suck on, ice packs for your neck, and lots of water in
general since you need to hydrate yourself like crazy, even
though it will really hurt to swallow for a good week to ten days.
One other thing I just remembered: maybe it was the painkillers,
but I had a strange metallic taste in my mouth for a long time,
but eventually it went away.
short term pain, lifelong gain
I feel for you. I had my tonsils out when I was 19 and it was
pretty awful. That was over a decade ago so maybe things are
better now. (I think they used a laser on me.) I can't remember
how long I was down, but at least a couple weeks. Coughing was so
painful it would bring on tears. I remember waking up in the
middle of the night coughing -- that was the worst. Other than
that, you're severely restricted in what you can eat for a while
- only super soft foods. This isn't so bad except in general you
can't get enough protein to go about your usual life. This was
before I knew about protein shakes/smoothies though, so maybe
this won't be as bad for you. I was young enough to be at home
and my mom made me Jell-o, sauteed mushrooms, frozen bananas,
etc. Not very sustaining stuff.
If you've been told you need them out by a doctor, I think you
should go ahead with it. It's not a fun experience, but after
it's done, it's done and you'll be in better shape. My tonsils
kept getting really swollen and would only go down to normal
while I was on antibiotics. As soon as I went off them, the
swelling returned. After about 3 rounds, I was scheduled for the
surgery. I had trouble breathing while hiking in the mountains
and could tell a difference when swallowing food. Since then I've
had no problems whatsoever. So I guess this is a really long way
of saying it sucks, but do it and get it over with. If you can,
schedule a significant amount of time off and accept help from
friends and family. Good luck!
Not as bad as childbirth, but pretty awful
I did not read your initial post but thought I would give my 2
cents. I had a combined tonsils and adenoids out/sinus surgery when I
was 30 y.o. The tonsillectomy was very painful and it took a few weeks
for me to recover/take care of myself. I could eat barely anything for
that time. Having my tonsils out was the best thing I ever did
though.. i should have had them out as a kid. I get sore throats now,
but they are nothing compared to what I had. I had constant
tonsillitis which is now no more. Bottom line..if you have a lot of
problems with your tonsils, you will be glad to get rid of them and
the pain will be worth it in the long run. Just make sure you have a
good support system to help take care of you and enough time off work,
b/c you will feel pretty awful for awhile.
I had my tonsils and adnoids removed as an adult. I felt
highly misled when people told me that I could enjoy frozen
yogurt, smoothies, ice cream etc.
My throat hurt so badly that I could not eat or drink anything
for several days. Other than that, it was not that bad and I
even lost a few lbs which was a happy surprise. You will be ok
but just don't expect to feel anything but pain in your throat
for several days.
no more tonsils
I had my tonsils out in my mid-20s and it wasn't too bad. I was
off work for a week and conserved energy by laying on the couch
watching mindless TV. As for food, I quickly figured out what was
and was not painful to eat. Popsicles are great as long as you
stay away from acidic flavors like citrus. One idea is to make
apple juice popsicles. Also, the ONLY yogurt that didn't sting
going down my throat was the La Crema vanilla flavor. I lived on
those the whole week! My family also made stewed rice for me -
just steamed Japanese rice simmered with water for a long time
until the rice is really soft and doesn't have to be chewed at
all. Also, jello was a good option for me. Hope that helps.
Tonsillectomy wasn't so bad
My 2 year old daughter has experienced asthma symptoms, robust
snoring and frequent lingering colds for a year and after a
recent visit to the ENT doctor, surgery was recommended for large
adenoids. The x-ray showed that her nasal passage was largely
constricted and that most cases resulted in surgery. We have
reservations on performing surgery with general anesthesia at her
age, especially since it's not effecting her sleep or speech. We
were given a steroid nasal spray to see if we could shrink the
adenoid, but if it doesn't work we'd like to explore other
options to surgery.
Wondering why you are so sure that your daughter's sleep is okay?
Did you do a sleep study? Generally with the symptoms you
mention she is probably not getting enough oxygen at night. Is
she ever cranky or hyper active? Does she sleep in strange
positions, wet the bed at night (or produce too much urine in her
diaper). We had our child's adenoids removed when he was 2 1/2
and have not regretted it for a second although we were terrified
to make the decision, it turned out to be no biggie at all! I
can't believe the energy we wasted over this and the fear we had,
it was basically an in and out procedure and he was home watching
tv a few hours later, running around the next day like nothing
happened. BTW studies show it's very important for young
children to get sufficient oxygen for brain and body development
(these are the critical years) and if your child is snoring I
wouldn't assume that she is getting what she needs. It greatly
improved our sons quality of life, he had a big language spurt
after and we didn't realize this, but he couldn't smell things so
all of a sudden a new world opened up!
My 17 month old son has a very large Adenoid which he is scheduled to
have removed at the same time they put ear tubes in at Oakland
Childrens. They will have to knock him out and put a breathing tube
in. Does anyone have experience with this? He snores very loud, had
sleep apnea, ear infections, and many illnesses during the last
winter. Because BPN is going on vacation, I would welcome you
responding to me directly, the surgery is scheduled for July 3rd...
I know it's scarey, but I'd go ahead and do it. It's not a
procedure you are doing for frivolous reasons, but to help make
your child healthier and better able to sleep. Children's Hosp
is wonderful and very, very experienced in helping babies (and
their parents), so I'd say be brave and go for it. It's a
simple procedure, doesn't take very long, and I've seen it make
a world of difference. Good luck.
We are considering adenoid / and possibly tonsil removal for our
3 year old. We’d very much appreciate hearing from other parents
re: the choice of the technique used – We understand that Dr.
Wessman uses the cold knife approach only, whereas Doctor Drury
recommends using radio-frequency, claiming that it reduces
bleeding and the healing is slightly easier. Another question is
the choice of removing only the adenoids versus removing the
tonsils as well (given that our son's tonsils are only moderately
enlarged.) According to our pediatrician, a recent study showed
that children having only adenoids/or tonsils removed faired
equally well to those have both removed. However, one of the
ENT's we spoke to said that parents usually end up returning to
have the other organs removed. Thanks very much for your input.
My daughter had extremely inflamed tonsils which constricted
her breathing especially at night and she was extremely prone
to sinus colds. I decided to have her tonsils and adenoids
removed when she was three. Since then she has had maybe one
or two slight colds, she's never sick and she breathes normally
at night. I don't know if it was really necessary to remove
her adenoids but she's been extremely heathly ever since (four
Hi. We had our now 10 yr old daughter's tonsils and adnoids out
between K and 1st grade. Wessman did the operation. It went
very smoothly; no complications. We did it because she kept
getting strept throat and Scarlette Fever, 2-3 x per year.
Since then, she's barely had a cold. A remarkable improvement
in her health AND in her enjoyment of food, as the swollen
adnoids decrease taste. The hardest thing about the operation
was watching our child go under sedation and her waking up from
it --disoriented and in some pain. To that end, if I were you,
I'd have both taken out so as to avoid any possibility of having
to repeat the procedure.
My son had both removed. We didn't even discuss only removing the
tonsils, it was
always both, and I never questioned why; I just figured both were
the repeated strep infections (among others). Since we have Kaiser, we
have a choice as to the method (I am pretty sure they did cold knife)
easy until the tissue in the back of the throat started to heal, and
then my son was
in pain (about 5 days afterward) and would not eat. The surgery was
really rough on
me, I didn't like seeing my son out of it pre- and post-op, with dried
blood on his
face, visualizing them pulling out his tonsils and adenoids through his
he was intubated). But since he has had the surgery he has been rarely
has been GREAT. So I am glad we got everything out in one shot.
My daughter had her adenoids out with Dr Wesman before the age
of two. He advised us to do the tonsils too, but I was
convinced it was the adenoids causing the problem so opted
against his advice. Big mistake. We were back again 4 months
later getting her tonsils out, her snoring and sleep apnea had
returned, worse than ever. Miracle surgeries, once it is all
taken care of. At age 4 1/2 she is a silent and wonderful
sleeper/breather, after the first 2 years of her life
struggling with very bad sinus problems and horrible sleep
apnea. Dr Wesman knows his stuff. Can't speak to alternate
approaches, but I trust his judgement.
Dr. Wessman removed my daughter's adeniods and tonsils at the
same time in 2006 (she was 4). Her tonsils were not infected
but were large and causing sleep apenia. He removed the
adenoids so that he would not have to do a second surgery
later. The recovery time was about 5 days and since that time,
she has been great!
My advice is take them both at once with Dr. Wessman. You won't
Happy and Tonsil & Adenoid Free
My 3 yr. old son was recently recommended for a tonsilectomy and removal of
the adnoids. They suspect he may have sleep apnea, although this has not
been comfirmed. He was examined by a head and neck specialist through
Kaiser, Dr. Gottshall and they found his tonsils to be very enlarged and nasal
passages blocked quite a bit. I'm feeling uncertain about the surgery. I would
love very much for him to sleep better, he wakes often during the night, which
is hard on both of us. Am I expecting too much from the surgery and is it
completely justified? I know these are questions for the doctor, but I would
appreciate any parental input, particularly from those of you who have been
through this. What can I expect and how did you make the decision to go
through with it?
My son had adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy surgery when he was
three and a half and we had a very good outcome. His sleep
improved and he could finally breathe.
I posted this response on the BPN only recently, and have
posted about this before. I'm wondering if advice seekers are
reading the archive. The advice is there to read.
My son who will be 3 in Dec has just been diagnosed with sleep
apnea due to enlarged Tonsils and adenoids (snoring & labored
breathing, sleeping w/head thrown back etc). He4s scheduled
for a T&A in 3 weeks but I am really anxious as to whether
we4ve made the right choice. I4ve read all the archives which
have been really helpful but I still have some questions and
would appreciate any and all advice and experiences,
particularly regarding the following:
1. Speech problems post T&A? I4ve read that some children
develop speech problems after the surgery but couldn4t find out
more info. I4m concerned because I recently ran into a young
adult who had a T&A for sleep apnea at age 5 and he definately
has a problem with pronouncing words, I don4t know if it was a
side effect from the T&A but now I am wondering - am I trading
one problem for another one? Has anyone had experience with
this and did speech therapy help? This has really worried me
because although this guy had a relatively minor speech
problem, I am sure for him it was a big deal, and has probably
had a major impact in his social and professional life and I4d
feel so so guilty if the surgery caused this in my son.
2. What causes large tonsils? Could allergies be involved and
so will that still have to be addressed? I haven4t been able to
find info on why the tonsils are so big. He4s only had 2
throat infections and one ear infection. And although my son
doesn4t seem to have any allergies (no runny nose, or red eyes)
but he did have a red rash on his cheeks and legs as a young
infant, this resolved after about 6 months but just this week
came back I think from swimming in a pool. Also as a infant he
threw up a lot, I did both breast and formula but didn4t seem
related to either in particular. He often has dark circles
under the eyes which I now read is could be a sign of allergies
or lack of sleep. Recently I read in a book that all these are
signs he may have allergies and I wonder if that may be what
has caused his enlarged tonsils. He also has some behavior
issues - he4s very whining, cries a lot and has frequent
tantrums which is why I noticed this book on allergies and
behavior. Did anyones Dr explain why the tonsils and adenoids
are large? Did anyone notice a connection to allergies?
3. Does anyone regret having the surgery?
When I found out about the diagnosis I was so relieved and sure
about the surgery but now I am so worried and have such doubts.
But I am having a really hard time listening to him struggle
for air every night, it4s torture and I don4t want to delay the
surgery searching for some phantom allergy. Any and all advice
would be welcome!
Having tonsils out can actually help allergies and asthma (not just sleep
dissapate, it did with our two sons who had tonsillectomies at around age 3.
both began eating better, speaking more, and had a major growth spurt within 4
Both my sons had and continue to have food allergies, and it was our allergist
first suggested the tonsilectomies. If you are worried about allergies don't
your pediatrician, take your son to an allergist. We love the berkeley practice
Dr. James Nickelson, Dr Lodewick etc. Dr. Lodewick is our doc and he is great
my boys, and myself (I have asthma as well).
But the upshot of my advice to you is that exploring possible allergies in your
won't rule out a tonsilectomy--the Tonsilectomy might actually help. If you
advice from an allergist quick, before the procedure, call up dr. lodewicks
tell them that you want answers to your questions before the procedure, see if
could get you in to see one of the docs. they could explain the whole
allergies/tonsils much better than I. The symptoms you described sounded
to my food allergic boys but that is far from a doctor's diagnosis. I think you
might feel better with more info.
We were nothing but pleased with our kids' tonsilectomies, which were performed
Children's by Dr. Wesman.
I know it's really scary to think about your child having
surgery. While deciding ''yes'' or ''no'' to the surgery is a
decision best made with you and your doctor, I just wanted to
share my experience in the hope that it will make you feel
better. My son had sleep apnea and, as a result, had the same
surgery. He has no speech problems whatsoever now. (I also had
this surgery many years ago as a child and also have no speech
problems.) In my son's case, the doctors said there was a
possibility that his adenoids would shrink when he reached
puberty so we could wait (a long time) to see. We decided to go
ahead with the surgery and couldn't be happier. Being able to
breathe freely has changed his life! Now that he can sleep and
eat normally, he is so much happier and healthier. Again, it's
really between you and your doctor, but from what you've
described about your son's situation, I wouldn't hesitate to get
the surgery. Good luck with your decision.
- Been there, done that, couldn't be more relieved
My daughter had the T and A surgery last year. She was never
diagnosed with sleep apnea, but she had lots of sleep problems.
Although the recovery wasn't great (about ten days), she hasn't
had any complications or problems. She definitely seems to be
sleeping better now and has grown quite a bit since the surgery.
I definitely have no regrets even though surgery is a scary
option. Email me if you have any questions. Our surgeon was Dr.
Our 13-year-old had his tonsils and adenoids out last summer -- and I was very
we waited so long. The surgery was harder (because adenoids are bigger and
larger area to heal after the surgery) and the recovery took longer than that
of kids we
know who were much younger. And he's sleeping much better since the surgery. So
sorry we didn't get it done when he was much younger.
At about the same age as your son is now, the ENT doc wanted to
remove my daughter's T&A. For the same reasons you have, I was
so worried that I opted to go with only an adenoidectomy; the ENT
doc was not happy with my decision but agreed to it. Without
adenoids, her apnea/snoring/lack of good sleep improved, and
there was no difference at all in her speech or voice. One
difference in what you describe in your son and in my daughter's
circumstance is that she had many sinus & ear infections. She
continued to suffer from those, even after the adenoids were out,
and when she was older, age 10, she had her tonsils removed.
After that, she didn't snore at all, but she still has sinus
issues and is often congested. Her voice was a bit softer
sounding for a while after her tonsils were gone; there was no
change in her speech. One thing you might consider is allergy
testing, although I got mixed messages about the reliability of
those tests in young children. Getting good rest is so important.
In hindsight, I think it would have been better to do both the
T&A at once, because having the tonsils out helped much more than
just having the adenoids out. If you should decide to move ahead
with the surgery, be sure to get the pain killer prescriptions
filled. My daughter really needed the pain medicine with codeine
for a couple of days, and she used all of it. It's good that
you're asking questions and researching for your son. I think
you should follow your mommy instincts because you know your son
snort snort's mom
We had my daughter's tonsils and adenoids out before she was
two, due to severe sleep apnea and constant sinus infections.
It was for us truly a miracle surgery - I'm glad we did not
wait. Her voice DID sound different and she had some trouble
with anunciation for a little while (weeks, maybe up to a
couple months?) but it resolved. She sleeps, breaths, talks
great now at age 3.
My 2yo son's HUGE tonsils were first noted by his speech
therapist who thought that they might be affecting his
ennunciation. He had been snoring loudly and having sleep apnea
so we followed up with Dr. Wesman and he recommended having them
removed. My son also had the dark circles but I think they were
from being tired because of the apnea he was not able to get a
restful sleep. It was a really really tough decision to have the
surgery but after doing lots of online research and talking with
another mother who had it done, we agreed to go ahead with it.
My son had his tonsils and adenoids removed two weeks before his
third birthday. What ever people tell you, the recovery is
really really tough with a T&A. You don't realize until you are
in it. His poor face was really swollen and he was just
miseable beyond belief. I cried the first couple nights
wondering if I had done the right thing. My son was in a lot of
pain and wouldn't even take the tylenol with codeine at first -
we finally got him to take the regular infant tylenol and made
sure he got the appropriate dosage based on weight not age. It
was a FULL ten days before he even started to act like his
normal self again. Ice cream, snow cones and popcicles didn't
event tempt him. Just lots of juice, water, videos, and snuggle
time with mom.
Speech problems? Our son's speech improved and a year later no
longer needed speech therapy. He is now 5 and sleeps great never
snores and is growing like a weed.
I have no regrets about the surgery and am actually very
thankful that we had it done. It is the toughtest in the last
hour before surgery and in the first couple days after the
operation but know that it will help your child in so many ways.
Don't delay. Two years later my son doesn't remember a thing
about it and hasn't been traumatized for life.
I would whole heartedly recommend Dr. Wesman at Children's
Hospital. My daughter had a couple ear infections and some
snoring so I also brought her in to him for evaluation at 3yo
and he said to wait and see to see if she grew out of it - so
he isn't just pushing surgery - he knows that it is tough on the
kids (and parents). And he is wonderfully responsive - about 4
days after the surgery my son coughed up some blood and of
course I freaked out and called. Dr. Wesman returned my call
immediately even though it was 10:30 at night. He knew exactly
what to say to calm a paniky mom and I felt so much better.
Feel free to email me if you have any more questions. I know it
is a really overwhelming thing.
I understand exactly what you're going through!!! Four years
ago I was in your shoes. My then 4 year old had such bad sleep
apnea that he had to sleep sitting up (literally at a 90 degree
angle)...it got so bad that every breath was a struggle, and
he'd foam at the mouth, he was rushed to the ER 3 times because
he'd suffocate in his sleep. Finally a friend (NOT an MD)
suggested we have his A&T's checked out. Sure enough his
adenoids were very enlarged, and his tonsils were slightly
enlarged. Around the same time, he was diagnosed as having
auditorty processing disorder. We THOUGHT the apnea and this
diagnosis were not related in any way, but we soon found out
that they were. He had difficulty communicating his needs, and
had problems socializing in pre-school. After some hesitation,
we decided to have our son's A&T's removed. Let me tell you,
the difference in our son was amazing. He started talking in
complete sentences, he stopped growling in school and started
using his words, the bags were gone from under his eyes because
he was finally able to get a good night's sleep. Within 10 days
of the surgery everyone that came into contact with him
commented on the changes in his speech and behaviour. Your son
is most likely whiny and throws tantrums because he's tired! He
hasn't had a good, fitfull night's sleep in ages. What
happended to the auditory processing disorder? Gone! Turns out
my son couldn't hear very well. It took him longer to
understand commands and follow conversations because his hearing
was affected by the enlarged adenoids. Four years later my son
is in the 3rd grade, reading at a 5th grade level, communicates
beautifully, and the sound of him sleeping soundly is literally
music to my ears. Severe year round allergies run in my family,
so I know that he also suffered from allergies, but I don't
think that was the sole cause of the enlarged A&T. By the way,
the T&A procedure has come a long way over the years. The young
adult you met probably had his surgery years ago, and who knows
if he also had other health issues that also affected his speech?
I could have written your post 4 years ago before we had our
son's toncils and adenoids removed due to severe sleep apnea.
The only thing that I regret is not having done the surgery
sooner. I too wanted to see if allergies were the problem and
secondly we were scared of the procedure. Our child did have
allergies and used claritin and benedryl, but these did not help
with the apnea. Sharing a room with him, listening to the
gasping for air, constant body movement in wierd positions to
get air, and nearly nightly bedwetting convinced us to have the
surgery. Although it is 7-10 days recovery and uncomfortable (we
fed him icees or whatever cold drink we could get him to have
and took some of the anxiety away by getting him a small gift of
an item that he wanted to open when it was all over) it was
sooooo worth it. I can't believe that such a simple operation
could have such a profound impact on our child's daily life.
Without an adequate night sleep he was always crying and
slightly off balance. He never wanted to go to bed. I had no
idea how truely exhausted he was until it was all over. The
third night following the surgery he announced so
excitedly ''Mama, I was DREAMING...'' He had never been in an
adequate sleep cycle to do this. The bedwetting stopped
immediately. The only kind of difficult thing about the surgery
was that our child was one of the very few to have ''combative
post anasthesia.'' He doesn't remember any of this, but he was
the only one out of a long bed line of kids coming out of
anasthesia to scream and cry hysterically for about an hour
after. The nurses at Oakland Children's were Wonderful though,a
as was the surgeon, Dr. Wessman. Our boy is now nine, loves his
bed, and will tell you himself what a difference for the
physical and emotional health it feels to be well rested. Feel
free to email if you have any other questions. -a mom of a well
Our almost 4 yr. old son had the T&A last winter just after he turned 3 and
mother and I were as apprehensive as you sound to us, in the end it was really
pretty straightforward and our son recovered in a flash. Everything worked
and we have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. Our son always had trouble
breathing even as an infant with a stuffy nose, nasal tones, snoring and sleep
and we would have just accepted that if it wasn't for a hearing deficit that
emerge from fluid buildup in his ears. Thank goodness we had the procedure.
telling the developmental delays from his enlarged adenoids affecting his
and his sleeping.
We told him the procedure was to give him ''super hearing'' and he was into
was a little scary seeing him walk down the hallway to the OR with the nurse in
little gown, and the worst part was his waking up an hour later in pain, but we
there to comfort him and the medications did their job. He was home recovering
3-4 days and then he was back to normal. Now he talks about his ''procedure''
his ''super hearing'' with pride and his heariing, sleeping and breathing is
super. We are so happy that we did it.
My heart goes out to you. Please trust your doubts and
instincts about the surgery for tonsils and adenoids. They are
necessary for a strong immune system. Also, surgically removing
them DOES NOT guarantee that the sleep apnea will go away
because the underlying problem likely remains. Some of the
symptoms (especially behavior) you refer to sound SO much like
food and/or chemical allergy symptoms. We have dealt with
allergies in my family. There are some really good books
(Doris Rapp's is one) that can help you with elimination diets
and testing different foods. Good luck with this.
My 5-year-old daugher had her tonsils and adenoids out in July, and like you, I
second guessing the decision up until the last moment. However, I am SO GLAD
did it. I'm sure there are parents out there whose kids have had the surgery
they aren't sure it was the right thing, but I did my research and it seemed
vast majority of parents were really glad they went through with it.
Regarding post-op speech problems, I have not heard of this as a side effect or
consequence of this surgery. My daugher's voice was temporarily changed by the
surgery (it was higher and squeakier for a couple of weeks), but it is totally
Regarding allergies, I do not know if these are related to your child's large
and adenoids. This is a ''rule out'' your doctor should consider. However,
that dark circles under the eyes and difficult behavior, which you are
possible allergies, are more likely the result of not being well rested because
Assuming you do go through with the surgery, I just want to tell you that my
daughter was in more pain the week following than we expected. It was a hard
week and she was up a lot at night. But after day 7, she was ''back to
think some children, especially younger ones, tend to bounce back more quickly,
but do be prepared to lay low at home with a fussy child for a week or so after
surgery. GOOD LUCK!!
Our 6-yr old daughter has been speaking with a nasal sound and
I contacted our holistic doctor. Her tonsils were huge and she
produced much mucus. Our doctor did some testing and said that
she has a gluten allergy. I had no idea what gluten was (it's a
wheat protein) and it is used in bread, cereal, pasta's, etc.
Gluten was in her daily diet, so we removed all foods that
contained it for a few weeks and she cleared up dramatically.
The tonsils went down to its normal size, the mucus was almost
gone and she spoke normal again. I would definitely check out
if allergies are involved before a more invasive surgery is
My son had the same surgery a few years ago. It was one of the
hardest decsions I had to make as a parent, but it turned out
to be one of the best decsions I've ever made. I have
absolutely no regrets. After months of listening to him
struggle to breathe each night, he slept peacefully his first
night post-op. He didn't make a sound!
As far as your questions go, I have never heard of kids having
any speech issues post-op. I think some people are just born
with enlarged tonsils/adenoids. Mine had to be removed when I
was 18 mos old.
If you have any other questions about the surgery or recovery
feel free to contact me.
My second daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed at five
years of age. She also had ear ''tubes'' put in at the same
time. She had recurring throat infections, but not so many, 3-
5?? She is now almost 19 years old and I never regretted her
having the surgery. She wasn't diagnosed w/ sleep apnea but
remember this was about 15 years ago so times were different
then. I do know that she often stopped breathing during sleep
and was a big-time snorer. All this changed after the
surgery. She also gained weight and was just a healthier,
happier kid. She is now a beautiful young woman in her
sophomore year of college, never a problem with the surgery or
issues w/ throat/adenoids since. My youngest daughter, who is
15 and a sophomore in high school has always had large
tonsils. She snores sometimes but usually only when she's
really tired. Her tonsils become enlarged when she's got a
cold. Her doctor has monitored the tonsils throughout her
lifetime but they haven't caused a problem (besides some
snoring), so I haven't pushed to have them out. When the
tonsils are enlarged I have her gargle in warm salt water. If
she does this 4-5 times a day it definitely brings down the
swelling and the discomfort. Finally, I had issues w/ throat
infections as a child but way back then (I'm 47), taking out
tonsils wasn't popular. I finally had to have them out when I
was 19 and frankly it was more painful than my three childbirth
experiences. I've heard that getting the tonsils out is way
more painful for adults than children and it's true. The 6-
year-old girl who shared a room w/ me was up within an hour,
eating, drinking and watching TV. I, on the other hand, took
three weeks to recover. So the reason why I'm sharing all of
this w/ you is to help you think about doing the T&A surgery
now, when your child is young, rather than wait until he's old
enough for it to really hurt. And to let you know that when I
did choose the surgery for my middle daughter it made a huge
difference in her quality of life and I'm glad I decided for
her to have the surgery. She was an outpatient, no overnight
in the hospital, was a little sleepy for the first two days,
then back to normal within 4/5 days. Good luck. Your son is
lucky to have a Mom who is researching this decision so
completely. Good luck, and if you have any more questions feel
free to send me an email...
Both of my boys have had tonsils and adenoids out due to sleep
apnea and hugely enlarged tonsils (my younger son's tonsils
restricted his airway, and it was scary when he got sick). My
first was almost 4, my second was 2 1/2.
1. No speech issues. Both actually had the clarity of their
speech improved. I also saw that numerous times with kids I saw
in speech therapy--one child was dismissed completely from
therapy 3 weeks after his surgery. He went from completely
unintelligible to having no problems.
2. Yes, to allergies. Yes, it's a valid thing to consider. My
younger son has multiple allergies (food and environmental), but
treating the allergies wasn't making a difference in the tonsils.
My elder son can't have any gluten or dairy. But we addressed
allergy issues, and still had issues with the tonsils and sleep
apnea, so we were ready to move forward. Giving high doses of
allergy meds didn't seem like the best solution.
3. We do not regret it at all. In fact, the difference in my
kids was profound. My 2 1/2 year old started sleeping through
the night for the first time ever. He was walking up (and waking
me up) sometimes every hour. The improvement in behavior of my
elder son was amazing--he was now actually getting the sleep he
I understand your hesitations--I had them as well. Please feel
free to email me if you have any other questions.
Our 3 year old son had his tonsils and adenoids removed just
before he turned 3. He was never diagnosed with sleep apnea, but
he had many many ear infections and had always been a huge mouth
breather (we used to call him Darth Vader). Sleep wise he was up
alot at night with us in the bed and while we tried to get him to
sleep in his own bed, he was just waking up too much. We were
all walking zombies (notice I said were). Since the surgery in
June, he sleeps almost every night in his own room and gets a
solid 10-11 hours each night as well as 1.5 hour nap each day.
He is certainly not sleep deprived anymore. His dark circles are
gone from his eyes and he gained 2 lbs over the summer and grew
To address your speech concerns, I was so nervous at first that
his voice would be changed and it WAS for about 3 weeks. He had
a very high pitched voice and was not annunciating well at all,
but I think he was just protecting his sore throat. His voice
may be slightly higher now, but the change has been minimal and
he has no speech concerns.
As far as allergies causing big tonsils, we were basically
informed that it was genetic, my husband also has big ones and
had his removed when he was young. Our son does suffer from
allergies, but I am not sure that big tonsils and frequent
allergies in our son are more than coexistent.
Regrets: We have none. All of us sleep better, there is less
whining, and more relaxing at night in our house, but it was very
difficult. The recovery took much longer than I expected and was
very sad. I think the hardest part was a small sense of guilt
that we chose to have the surgery and our son did not understand
what was happening or why. So all of the pain that he went
through (and there was a lot of it)made me feel guilty--as if we
could have avoided it. But after the fact, 10 days later he was
almost back to himself and now we have a much happier and
healthier son and a more well rested family. Feel free to contact
me if you would like more information or have questions.
Hi, my son just had his tonsils removed, and his
adenoids ''shrunk'' (I understand this to mean some kind of
cauterizing tool to remove some tissue but not all of it) in
the last week of August. I was not aware of speech issues as a
possible post surgery issue and that would have just added to
my already existing anxieties. About the allergies possibly
being the cause of large tonsils, my primary care physician did
tell me that allergies could be the cause of this. We treated
for allergies using Nasonex and Claritin, and his condition
slightly improved, but did not go away. He still had enlarged
tonsils and a chronic runny nose. He also was snoring, had
slight apnea nightly, recurring strep infections and a couple
ear infections, though I suspect that his ears were always a
little swollen, and sometimes he would ask me to repeat things
that I said. So, that being said, I now have a boy no longer
snores or tosses around to breathe at night and seems to get
better sleep. You also mentioned the whining and crying - yup,
mine too...I believe related to lack of sleep and his body
always working to deal with the enlarged tonsils, infections
and lymph nodes working in overdrive, and that has also seemed
to diminish, (though I am not ruling out that his maturing into
a 5 year old may have helped in this). About having to deal
with the allergies still, I am waiting for the spring allergy
season to see, otherwise, I am very happy with the results. I
wish your son a speedy and hopefully not so painful recovery.
- noticed huge improvement post surgery
My son, who is in the 5% for size/weight, has eczema, allergies,
deviated septum, and was borderline
sleep apnea (difficult to confirm 100% cause he was not fully
cooperative w/ the sleep apnea test). He had his TA when he was
10yo by Kasey Li,
ENT,DDS, Palo ALto, very well respected in the field. Afterwards my
''I should have had this done long time ago. I can taste food
now!'' My son healed quickly in three days, without benefit of pain
medication, which he refused. (Healing from less skilled doctors
for the same procedure is sometimes a week!)
TA is a common procedure; not to worry.
To answer your question about the dark circles. My son often has
the ''racoon'' look plus puffiness and rash on the crook of his arm
and behind the knees. Not an award winning look. You should, if
you have not already, take your child for allergy tests to
determine the source of his allergy. Yes, the allergy, eczema,
and sleep apnea area all related. The TA will be most effective
if you take steps to address the allergies in conjunction w/ the
TA procedure,ie it will be self defeating to do the TA until you
have addressed the allergies. We have no regrets and only wish
we had done this sooner. Operations are always less
invasive/painful for kids than for adults. If you have doubts,
get a second opinion from someone highly qualified like Dr. Kasey
Li (see his website), though you may have a qualified dr. in your
area. Our pediatrician had little to offer and may not even
recognize a problem. It was my son's orthodontist who noted
the problem (dark circules) and suggested that the TA might
enlarge the breathing passage and, therefore, improve sleep and
My son has improved in school AND he is starting to gain weight.
My son's sleep apnea was also cured by removal of tonsils &
adnoid, and I highly recommend the surgery for that reason.
But don't be mistaken about the pain. It was extremely
painful, and my 5 year old son often refused to swallow the
liquid tylenol and advil that we were alternating (because the
pain would return full force long before the time to give
another dose of one drug), as swallowing the sweet syrup hurt
his throat. Be prepared to insist on the pain meds, and keep
them coming, alternating, to keep your child comfortable. Of
course, clear this with your doctor. After the the fourth or
fifth day (maybe it was the 6th or 7th?), when his throat
seemed to feel less painful, the intense pain returned all over
again. Just be ready to stay home from work with your kid for
2 weeks, and don't buy the claims that it ''hurts kids less.''
My 8 year old daughter has enlarged tonsils, she has been seen by
an otolaryngologist and told she needs to have them out. She also
has some level of sleep apnea (we may have a sleep study done)
but its better than it used to be when she was younger. I have
heard that having enlarged tonsils removed and getting better
sleep may result in weight gain and growth. But my daughter is
among the tallest in her grade even though she is one of the
youngest, and she is overweight (could afford to lose about
10-15lbs.) She is also, in her teachers estimate, a great student
and does very well in school. Although she does seem to avoid
physical activity more than her peers and doesn't run very fast
or willingly. She prefers a more sedentary lifestyle.
Clearly the sleep disturbance is not affecting her growth. It may
be affecting her energy level.
If having her tonsils removed will result in her putting on more
weight, I don't know if thats a great thing for her right now.
Has anyone had tonsils removed for an overweight child and the
child lost weight because of the increase in the energy level? Is
it better to wait this out and see if the tonsils reduce as she
gets to be a young teenager?
Not sure about surgery
Both of my children have had their tonsils and adenoids removed because
of very enlarged tonsils and sleep apnea. I know the struggles you
face--because there has been such backlash against removing tonsils for
throat infections, one faces huge amounts of conflicting information
when even considering it. At times I felt like I would be completely
neglectful to have them removed.
However, I'm so glad we did. My oldest child had his removed 2 weeks
before he turned 4. He was sleeping OK from my end (he wasn't waking me
up all night or anything), but after surgery he wakes up rested and
happy, as opposed to grumpy and still tired.
He was on the large side--47 lbs at almost 4. In the past year he has
only gained 2 lbs. So it may have helped him not gain as much weight.
He is certainly more active--though he still isn't naturally a running
around kind of kid, he doesn't get as fatigued when playing. Before
surgery, when he got sick his throat would close off, and he could
barely breathe. He couldn't breathe through his nose at all, even when
he wasn't sick.(and I know because he was still nursing then--for a year
he had to nurse/stop to breathe/nurse) None of that now.
My younger child is just 2 1/2. He was starting down the same path, with
even more severe sleep apnea. He was waking up 8-10 times in a 12 hour
period. He was chronically tired. His breathing was very loud and raspy,
and his throat was nearly closed off. He was on the small side. Since
surgery, he now sleeps through the night, wakes up happy and ready to
play, no longer mouth breathes, and has put on some weight.
As a child, I had the same problem! My parents chose to wait, and my
tonsils did eventually shrink--my freshman year in college. I didn't
have any of the other issues that my kids did, though.
I weighed that in our decision to go ahead with the surgery. When my
elder child had his last cold and could barely breathe due to his airway
so restricted, we went with surgery.
You should definitely do a sleep study. We tried to do it, but getting a
3 1/2 year old to wear the machine all night didn't work. In our case, I
could hear the apnea, and it was very frequent (in my elder son's case,
I would hear anywhere from 10-40 episodes in an HOUR) Heather
My son is 4 and has always had a terrible snoring problem. Every
day care setting he has been in has remarked about how loud he
snores. And I gave up on co-sleeping because he kept me awake as
well. His father suffers from obstructive sleep apnea and uses a
CPAP machine when he sleeps at night, so we know the problem is
probably inherited. I finally got a referral from our
pediatrician to an ENT specialist (Dr. Wesman at Children's
Hospital) and he took one look and told me to schedule surgery
to remove the adnoids. No alternative treatments, no wait and
see. We ended up changing insurance plans before I could get him
scheduled and had to see a new pediatrician to get a new
referral. The new Dr. listed to my experience and said that he
was suprised that we had not yet tried a steriod nasal spray to
shrink the adnoids. There was a possibility that they could be
shrunk and my son would ''grow into them'' in time. We decided to
try the spray for a few months to see how it went before we made
a decision on removal. The steriod spray (a perscription
Flonase) is working well and I'm inclined to stick with it. But
I'm worried about the long term side effects of taking a low
dose of steriods for an unforseeable time period, probably
years. I'm trying to decide between the lesser of two evils-
removing part of his immune system via surgery (which is always
risky) or keeping him on steriods indefinetly. Has anyone faced
this decision before? Any directions to websites and/or
information to make my decision?
Mom of the room rumbler
One other thing to consider: our son just had his tonsils and adenoids
removed and he's 13 years old. Every doctor we talked with said it's
more painful and requires a longer recovery time than if we'd done it
when he was younger. The incisions are bigger and requires stitches. It
took about 5 days before he could eat anything solid and he didn't even
want ice cream. If I could do it again, I'd have scheduled the surgery
for years ago Mom of an ex-Rumbler
My daughter is 4 and she has been a horrible snorer for at least a year
and seems to have episodes of apnea. I had my adenoids removed at age
5. Her pediatrician actually suggested we take her to a sleep
specialist prior to a surgeon - that way they could assess if she was
truly having apnea, what kind of impact it was having on her
physiologically, etc. So that might be something to think about prior
to surgery (however, we were unable to actually DO the sleep study b/c
the equipment freaked her out too much).
As for the long term effects of steroids I don't know - most kids grow
out of the obstruction from adenoids and tonsils as they get bigger and
their glands shrink, so he probably wouldn't have to be on the steroid
indefinitely. It might be worth stopping them after 6 months and see if
his symptoms return, they might not?
I don't know if that helps but it's a couple of other things to think
about. It's amazing how loud such little people can snore, isn't it?
The surgery you are talking about (and yes, it is hereditary - it runs
in my family) was extremely common in the 70's, when I had my adnoids
(overly large and causing breathing obstruction) removed, along with my
tonsils. I was never sick again afterwards, although I had the surgery
when I was 6, although my brother continued to get strep throat and
various infections. The surgery was the best thing that happened to me.
I just finished a degree in holistic childcare and one of the classes,
healthy sleep habits/happy child, covers this in- depth and lists
enlarged adnoids as one of the top reasons for snoring. I am a holistic
doctor and am vehemently against the use of steroids - especially
''indefinitely'' in an attempt to do something that can be accomplished
in moments, surgically.
Your child's brain is still developing and to subject that vulnerable
area of the body (nasal cavity) to steroidal chemical or any other that
isn't absolutely necessary, in my opinion, is not safe or healthy. Not
to mention that your child may not like having something shot up his/her
nose repeatedly in the hopes that it may work. The surgery is quick,
safe, and the problem will be resolved, just like that.
My personal opinion is the surgery over chemicals being put into a
child's body. Yes, the anesthetic is a chemical, but I believe that the
benefits of the surgery far outweigh the risks and I do not believe that
is the case with steroids or chemicals. The reduction of oxygen which
gets to your child's brain because of apnea-type symptoms is dangerous
and you need to take action sooner than later. I am sure everything
will go well and the doctor who suggested the surgery was giving his
best opinion for the speediest safest solution in his judgment.
I posted a reply earlier stating that I believe the surgery is the best
alternative of the two. I would like to point you to more information
on this subject. The book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc
Weissbluth, MD has quite a bit on this subject on pages 383-393, as well
as other places in the text. It would be worth a trip to the library or
bookstore to review this information for yourself, I believe. Best
I would urge you to lose the steroids - they are really a problem used
for too long - and get your son the surgery that the experts are
suggesting. My child grew and gained weight, right after the surgery.
I cannot even express how easy his breathing became and how much better
rested my child was.
Also, I don't think kids grow into adenoids. My ENT doctor told us that
they start to shrink around age 14 but my child could not have lasted
not sleeping for the next eight years.
Do the surgery - your child will thank you for it
My son had his adenoids and tonsils removed when he was three and a half
because his breathing was tortured and he never slept well. The
possibility of long-term steroid use to deal with the problem was not
offered to me. The operation was very quick, performed by Dr. Wesman,
and I made the right decision.
Not only is my son getting good sleep, growth, and health, but I too am
relieved from worrying about his health and and from laying awake all
night listening to him struggle to breath. If I had to choose between
steroids, with the fear of long-term effects, and the surgery, I would
choose the surgery.
I'd like any advice on whether or not we should have our 6 year
old daughter's very large Tonsills removed over the summer. They
are practically touching each other and she has a hard time
breathing at night. It is very loud but doesn't seem to wake her
up. We went to see Dr. Robert Wesman at Children's and he said
she would definately get a better quality of sleep but he also
said we could wait until she grows more and the toncils won't be
so big in comparison to her throat.
I am just not sure what to do. I don't want to put her in
I'd love to hear from others that have had this done and hear
more about the pros and cons.
My son had the same problem. He was having episodes of sleep
apnea too. Every time he got a cold it turned into a nightmare.
We were all suffering along with him. We decided to have his
out the summer before he started Kindergarten. It turned out to
be one of the best decisions I have made as a parent.
I found a lot of helpful advice on the archives, as well as
from a parent who had gone through the surgery with her two
Feel free to contact me if you want more info.
My six year old daughter just had her very large tonsils and
huge adenoids out in February. The surgery was performed by
Dr. Wesman and done at Children's Hospital. I was VERY
impressed by the staff at Children's. They did a great job
preparing my daughter for what to expect and treated her very
kindly on the day of the surgery. She was under general
anasthesia (and I was with her when she fell asleep) for only
about one hour and Dr. Wesman came out to tell us that
everything was done after about only 30 minutes.
Prior to the surgery my daughter's breathing at night was so
loud (snoring too) we could hear her from three rooms away, she
would wake herself up frequently and was always tired during
the day. Now she breathes much more easily at night - almost
silently. We can't believe the difference. She says that she
feels better (and the dark circles under her eyes are a thing
of the past). The recuperation was difficult though - Dr.
Wesman is not kidding when he says that the first week after
the surgery will be painful.
When we went for our initial consult, Dr. Wesman took one look
at our daughter and said that he thought that the procedure
would help her given the size of her tonsils and adenoids and
he did not mention about waiting until she got older to do the
procedure. On the other hand, he examined our four year old
son and said that we should wait and see what happens as he
grows, but taking his tonsils out now would be too aggressive
for the size of his tonsils/adenoids and his symptoms.
I hope this helps. If you would like to talk more about it,
feel free to contact me. Maria
My son (now 11) had his adenoids and tonsils out at 3-1/2 years
old. It was a terribly hard decision to make (surgery,
anthesia, etc), but he did have sleep apnea. Although the
problem was only his adenoids, we decided to have the tonsils
out at the same time as it looked they might be trouble down
the road (large for his age).
Bottom-line: it was a great decision and I'm glad we did it so
early! His sleep apnea immediately cleared up and he healed
really quickly. We had no bad side effects at all, thankfully.
Robert Wesman happened to be our doctor as well and our
experience was a good one, both before, during, and after
As a side note, I read an article in the Chronicle (years ago
now) saying that some researchers believe that the chronic
sleepiness exhibited by some teen-agers during school is caused
by undiagnosed sleep apnea. The brain waking up hundreds of
times a night means little-to-no REM sleep, leading to chronic
sleep deprivation. Just something else to keep an eye on re:
your daughter's sleep/breathing.
Good luck whatever your decision.
Our son had huge tonsils and adenoids. While it does not sound
like your child has had a lot of ear infections, our son did
early on. While the frequencey of his ear infections did
decrease, he was still often congested for weeks and weeks at a
time and later we found he probably had fluid in his ears more
often then not, which began to impact his hearing. He also
snored and sputtered a lot during the night. We did not
immediately make the connection with his tonsils, but once we
did we were concerned that he was not getting restful sleep.
As a result of all of this, we decided to see an ENT - Dr.
Wesman. He also advised removing our son's tonsils (as well as
his adenoids and having tubes to help keep his ears drained) to
help him better weather colds and get more restful sleep. The
procedure took only about 30 minutes - and he was having more
done then it sounds like you need. And, it was a total
success. His hearing returned to 100% in both ears and he now
sleeps like a log. Prior to his surgery, we also had read that
kids getting the right amount of deep sleep is important to
their growing properly and while there have not been actual
studies about this (I don't think) many folks say their kids
have a growth spurt after having their tonsils removed and, in
essence, apena-like sleep problems resolved. Our son was
already above the norm on the growth curve when he had his
surgery when he was four, but he nonetheless grew 1 1/2 inches
within what seemed like 4-6 weeks of the surgery. Perhaps
totally unrelated, but ... I still wonder. Good luck with what
you decide to do. Dr. Wesman and all the crew at Children's
were great and very good with us and our son during all the pre-
op and post-op visits. If you want to know more, feel free to e-
My child, age 7,has seen an ENT and was told he has enlarged
adenoids and tonsils. He does snore when he sleeps on his back
and is usually congested. He does not have allergies. He has
never had tonsillitis or ear infections. We have considered
surgery but I have mixed feelings. I would like to know if
anyone has had a similiar situation and have you tried
homeopathy. I also wonder if an adenoidectomy is all that
he needs right now, or if I should get a sleep test also.
ambivalent about surgery
Did your doctors explain that tonsils are part of the immune system, like the lymph nodes that swell with a sore throat? The tonsils contain immune cells that ''examine'' everything coming down the pike, so to speak. That your child's tonsils and adenoids are swollen suggests an overstimulated immune system. If the allergy tests were only IgE (immediate response type allergies), then IgG testing might be helpful here. Delayed responses to foods (4-96 hours after exposre) are VERY hard to identify without testing. You can check out www.yorkallergyusa.com for a finger stick test that uses ELISA technology to identify delayed response allergies (IgG).
That your son is usually congested is another red flag he is reacting to something in his environment.
Homeopathy can be helpful in supporting the immune system so he develops tolerance to the provocative agent. The key point here is that tolerance is individualized (why some people get hay fever and some don't, for example). Trying to reduce your son's total load by identifying the provocative agent, AND doing homeopathy (perhaps a constitutional) could be extremely helpful for him.
Nori Hudson, NC
My son had enlarged adenoids, a constant runny nose, trouble breathing, and poor sleep. He never had ear infections or tonsillitis or allergies. I tried many alternative treatments, including homeopathy, cranial massage, nutritional changes, and acupressure. Nothing worked. I finally decided on surgery, he was 3 and a half, his adenoids and tonsils were removed and he had tubes inserted. It was a very good outcome, and I'm really glad I did it. The surgery is very quick, the anesthetic is very mild, the outcome was well worth it. In my experience, the alternative treatments had no affect on the obstruction in my son's airways which were the problem and were fixable by surgery.
We have been told the same thing about our son, who is 4, but surgery isn't recommended until your child's age. He was having what seemed like sleep apnea, so we had one of those nighttime tests to make sure he wasn't losing oxygen, and he wasn't. We started seeing an osteopath, Dr. Kay Weinshank, and his breathing is getting easier at night. It got worse for about 4 days, but I understand that's typical of the healing process, and now it is improving. We've had only 4 or 5 visits so far and plan on continuing. We did try homeopathy for a while, but I don't think we stuck with it long enough to see lasting results. I also notice when my son is having trouble breathing in his sleep, his jaw is also tight. We talk about that during the day and at night before bed, and we are teaching him how to let his jaw go. I told Dr. Weinshank about your son and she said you can call her and talk about it. She is in Montclair.
Feel free to email me if you'd like Sincerely, Susan
My 7 yr. old child has enlarged tonsils and adenoids, is
constantly congested and snores most of the time. He has
been having the snoring and congestion for many years.
We just recently saw an ENT doctor who recommends the surgery.
We are also going to see an allergist(in 3 months because it
is hard to get appointments). My question is for those parents
whose children have had the surgery - did their congestion
and sleep improve a lot and have the children had a lot of
illness' since. Also I would like to know if he has allergies
and gets treatment will his tonsils/adenoids be reduced in size?
I don't want to get the surgery if I don't have to.
My daughter had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy when she was 4+
years old. Prior to the surgery she had congestion & sleep apnea
-- she slept fitfully, was overly tired, and her breathing
patterns frightened me. (No allergies to speak of, however.) The
surgery was uneventful and the only hard part was the hour or so
of getting over the general anesthia, when she was disoriented
and uncomfortable. And after surgery her breathing, day and
night, was much improved. We had it done at Kaiser and she came
home 6 hours after surgery. It was definitely worthwhile for her.
Good luck with your decision.
My son suffered from sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils and
adenoids. He really struggled each night to breathe and it was
a nightmare when he got sick. After consulting with the ENT
specialist Dr. Wesman we decided to go through with the
surgery. I was a wreck about it, but I am so so so thankful
that we did it. We totally made the right decision and I have
no regrets. The results were immediate. The night after his
surgery he was so quiet I had to check to make sure he was
I think the longer you wait, the harder the experience might
be. Our son was 5 and we had it done the summer before he
started Kindergarten. He barely even remembers anything about
it. My girlfriend, who's son had an identical diagnosis, opted
to wait it out. She really regrets this decision as her son has
missed a lot of school due to repeated strep and ear
infections. He's even had some slight hearing loss.
There is great info archived here about this surgery.
Feel free to email me if you do decide to go through with the
surgery and would like more info. It helped me tremendously to
talk with another mom who had gone through the surgery with two
of her children.
Ask your doctor about the possiblity of having only PART of his tonsils removed. I read
somewhere that, because the tonsils are an important part of the body for immune
health, that it may help to not remove them entirely, but having part of them removed
can help with the congestion, etc. I think it's done with laser, so you can remove just a
part of it. Read up more before you make any decisions about what the tonsils do and
how they contribute to the immune system - I agree that jumping into the surgery is
not a good idea.
Our daughter, now 7, had the operation when she was 5.5 yrs
old. Although she had some snoring, the motivation was
recurrant throat infections, to the point where she lost
interest in eating and in a year's time, did not gain weight.
Her ''Cost-Co'' size tonsils would not go down.
Though we were concerned about having her undergo general
anasthesia, we are very glad she had the operation. She has
been so much healthier. In Kindergarten, she missed 20 days of
school; last year, one day. And she's gained 5-6 pounds this
year. So, for us, the operation has been a big plus.
Be aware, though, when you child awakens in the recovery room
they are VERY uncomfortable and sad...took about an hour to get
our daughter calmed down and comfortable. After that the
recoverey went as they said.
Hello. My almost six year old son has obstructive sleep apnea,
but only when he is ill. When he is not ill, he has trouble
breathing in his sleep because of large adenoids. In the past
year, he has been evaluated by Dr. Wessman at Children's, who
recommeded adenoid removal only, twice. Now, we are at Kaiser
Richmond, and no longer are able to go to Children's because of
our insurance. I love Dr. Berman, our pediatrician. He referred
us to Dr. Callan, ENT, at Kaiser Richmond. My son had strep when
he was evaluated by Dr. Callan, who by the way was not the
friendliest or warmest, but patient enough that I am not
completely discounting him. He recommended TONSIL AND adenoid
removal. I told him Dr. Wessman's recommendation was only for
adenoid removal, but he insisted the tonsils were large. I
reminded him of my sons current strep infection and suggested a
follow up so that he could view his tonsils in their normal
state. He still insisted that adenoid removal alone was almost
always a problem and that patients would always return later for
tonsil removal. I asked if an xray/CT would be taken of my son's
neck and he said no. My questions are: 1. Does anyone have
experience with Dr. Callan in Richmond or Oakland? 2. Has any
one had only adenoid removal and NOT returned for a
tonsillectomy? 3. Are xrays/ct scans a regular pre-op procedure?
I have experience with Dr. Wesman, and with adenoid-only removal (in my
son's case, due to ear infections, poor ear drainage to the point of his
hearing being affected, and the necessity of a second round of ear
tubes). And no, an x-ray or scan of any sort was not taken. I think
when the ENTs can actually SEE the tissue involved, there's no sense in
taking what, in children, can be a more invasive exam (sometimes even
Several things to consider:
1) Dr. Wesman, while very expert and trustworthy, is actually very
conservative. He watched my son for nearly 9 months after the first
tubes fell out, with some fluid lingering in his ears, before doing the
second round of ear tubes (when, in his first cold of the season, his
hearing went down by 25 decibels and stayed that way).
2) My son had only adenoids removed, and he's been fine (no necessity
for more), but the reason for their removal had nothing to do with sleep
apnea. His tonsils were never particularly swollen, nor did he have any
breathing difficulties. In fact, just this week he saw the
pediatrician, who lightheartedly commented on his ''almost
3) I believe this is one of these situations where different
professionals have different, and quite legitimate, professional
opinions. Your new ENT says that ''everyone'' should get the tonsils
removed; Dr. Wesman, in my experience, doesn't recommend this as often.
I think that, in this case, your opinion counts too. Which would
distress you more -- having surgery that is more aggressive to begin
with, even if not 100% guaranteed to be necessary, or having to go back
for a second round of surgery if the first time is not enough? Also,
you alone know your son best. Do you feel he needs you to be more
conservative, or more aggressive, to make him fully well?
I saw Dr. Callan several months ago for a growth of tissue/veins under
my tongue. Kind of like a varicose vein. It would swell some times adn
be painful, and other times not bother me at all.
He was very nice to me (adult), gave it a name, described what it was
and said I could either do nothing or have it removed.
He was quite specific about the removal and relatively low risk.
He was patient and informative. I decided against removal since it
generally doesn't bother me much.
If I did decide on removal I would feel comfortable with Dr.
Callan doing the surgery.
Can't speak about tonsils, adenoids, or kids, but that was my adult
experience with him.
I had my adenoids removed as a young girl -- this was in the early 70s
-- for different reasons than your son. My tonsils stayed and they
periodically do get swollen, including many bouts of childhood strep
throat. Whenever a medical provider looks at them, they simply remark
that the tonsils are doing their job, which is serving as a line of
defense against infection. When the tonsils get infected and swollen,
they are uncomfortable, but the tradeoff is that the infection doesn't
travel down farther (like into the lungs). If there is nothing
structurally wrong with your son's tonsils, consider leaving them to
protect his lower respiratory system.
A pediatric ENT has just recommended adenoid removal for our 3.5-
year-old because of chronic sinusitus and difficulty breathing
at night. She is not medically at risk (no sleep apnea, that we
know of), but is bothered by the constant congestion, runny
nose, and labored breathing at night. Have you elected to have
your young child's adenoids removed? If so, was it worth the
surgery risk? Any advice about the pros and cons of an
adenoidectomy in a preschooler would be appreciated!
Hi, I had my adenoids removed as a 4-year old child. It was not
traumatic (all I remember now is eating ice cream in the
hospital). In general, over the almost 40 years since, I've had
no problems from it. I did go through a period in my 20s when I
had a lot of tonsilitis, which one doctor speculated might have
been a result of not having adenoids, so you might ask your doc
about that. However, I outgrew that phase after a few years. I
don't know exactly why my adenoids were removed as a child, but
I suspect it was similar to what you describe with your child. I
also suffered from a lot of ear infections as a kid, and the
adenoid removal was not particularly successful at solving that
problem. Good luck with your choice.
My 5 yr. old just had his adenoids and tonsils removed in Oct.
04, at CHO. Email me directly if you like and I can share more.
He is still waking at night (despite assurances that he would
sleep better), however, his breathing is much much easier (he was
congetested and snoring all the time before) and his colds have
resolved faster. Was it worth it - difficult to say...
My daughter, who is now nearly 15 had her tonsils and adenoids
removed when she was 3 years old. It was a very difficult
situation for us. I am a plastic surgeon and my husband an
anesthesiologist, but we are both careful not to be doctors to
our children and to rely on the care of their pediatricians.
However Rebecca at age 3 snored terribly, had sleep apnea and
foul breath from ! her chronically infected tonsils. Her
pediatrician in New York felt strongly that since she had not
had ear infections since her first year, that we just wait it
out and see what happened when the weather warmed up. By the
fall, the situation had continued. The pediatrician told us we
were being overly reactionary and she would outgrow it. We were
not comfortable with that, sleep apnea is not healthy, children
cannot grow well when their sleep is interrupted. As a plastic
surgeon, I also knew that chronic upper airway obstruction in
young children effects facial growth leads to abnormal
development of the shape of the middle portion of the face and
the mouth. We took her to the ENT surgeon on our own who agreed
with our diagnosis and felt surgery was indicated. When we went
back to the pediatrician for a preoperative physical, he was
furious with us telling us that physician parent! s were overly
aggressive with their children. We proceeded anyway although we
were wrecks on the day of the surgery, particularly as the
pediatrician did not support us.
Rebecca sailed through the surgery and in the next 5 weeks, like
the incredible hulk, she outgrew all of her clothes. I took her
back to that pediatrician and told him to weigh her and measure
her and then apologize for me for fighting us on this. She had
grown 3 inches and gained 5 pounds in that 5 weeks and he did
apologize. Her breath smelled like sweet baby breath again and
she has done very well ever since.
I don't regret our decision one bit. T and A's have been
overdone historically, for any child who had more than one ear
infection or strep throat in a year. Then the pendulum swung
back, and no T and A's were done, no matter how sick those
children were. The middle ground is that
tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy have appropriate surgical
indications. If you are not sure about your what to do, get a
second opinion. But if the indications are there, your child
will benefit from the procedure.
Elizabeth Lee, MD
Our son had his toncils and adenoids removed by Dr. Wesman at
Children's Hospital for a different reason, sleep apnea. But we
have had friends with a son with the same medical issue as
yours. They did have the adenoids removed and are so happy to
have done so. The nasal type breathing has gone away all
together and he sleeps so much better. It seems that the risks
of chronic sinusitis compared to removing adenoids are so much
greater, especially in a small child who often can't accurately
describe the symptoms of sinusitis (I am a suffer of periodic
sinusitis, very painful, always requiring antibiotics...) Can't
sinusitis head up into the brain? It even has affected my teeth!
The dentist diagnosed my last case...Before we had our child's
surgery, I was terrified of putting a child this age under
anasthesia, ect.(I ! am absolutely an overprotective mother)and
this is not an issue to take lightly. While it wasn't easy, I
found the nurses so competent and wonderful at children's. The
recovery is about one week.We had good luck scheduling first
thing in the morning so our boy didn't have to feel so crazy
hungry and he did have ''combative emergence'' when coming out of
anathesia. But our nurse was wonderful, our child doesn't
remember. In fact,he got a prize that he was looking forward to
after the surgery and says it was great to have his toncils
out! Plan to be in the house afterwards for several days and
nights with a cranky child. We are so happy to have had the
surgery. It has made a huge quality of life difference in our
child..I wish we had done it a year earlier but I was not
convinced and too scared to commit. Good luck!
a relieved mom
We had our son's adenoids removed the summer before kindergarten
(just last summer). He had had tons of colds, more or less
steady congestion, and snored loudly all night long. We were
pretty sure he had sleep apnea, and he may still--we need to do
a sleep study. The ent at Children's recommended having both his
tonsils and his adenoids removed, but on advice from both our
homeopath and osteopath, who had worked on him from age 2, we
elected to just do adenoids, and see what happened. We wanted to
leave some part of that section of his immune process intact.
Here's the pros as we see them: the recovery time was probably
shorter, and the pain less intense. His sleep is much quieter--
the snoring has not disappeared entirely, but it's only
intermittent and much milder. He has definetely healthier this
winter--less colds, and quicker recovery. Cons for us: we feel
pretty anxious about the idea that even still, we may need to
! subject him to another surgery. He had a fairly large amount of
anxiety and anger about the adenoid surgery and we all dread
going through that again. Other than that, we are very glad we
did it, and it was worth the trouble.
mom of mr. stuffy nose
If you need another reason to get the adenoidectomy, then you
should have a sleep study. That is the only way you can tell
if she has sleep apnea or not.
Chronic sinusitis can be exhausting for your child besides
giving her a overall poor feeling of health. It can affect her
learning, behavior, etc. Besides sinusitis isn't a benign
condition. It is a bacterial infection in your sinuses which is
right next to your brain. I've seen it spead to the brain.
Dr. M (pediatrician)
We had our sons adenoids and tonsils out when he was 26 months
old. And ear tubes put in at the same time. The worst part of
the procedure was watching his eyes roll back into his head when
they put him under. Then he spent the next 5 days in agony. I
must say that he is now 4 years old and a healthy boy. This
winter he only came down with one really bad cold. In the past we
would have had numerous and ear infections to go with it. Dr.
Robert Wesman and Children's in Oakland was fantastic. While we
went through it it was painful but the results have been worth it.
My daughter had her adenoids and tonsils removed at 3.5 and it
made a huge difference. The recovery time was very quick. The
first day was rough, but by the second day she was playing with
her sister. The benefits were worth it. She was able to sleep
better, which changed her mood, for the better. She actually
had sleep apnea and was not getting a full night sleep, becuase
the adenoids and tonsils were cutting off the air. She could
taste food! She started eating more and trying different
foods, and began to gain some weight. Before she was skinny
and pale. Getting rid of the runny noses and the constant ear
infections was great! No more antibiotics. She has not had an
ear infection or sinus infection since. She is now 11 years
old. We had it done at Kaiser in Martinez, out patient
surgery. They were wonderful.
We had our 3.5 year old's adenoids removed last month. In his case, it
was due to continuing ear congestion and hearing trouble. The surgery
was easy, he never took any of the prescribed codiene, just a couple of
doses of children's Motrin on day 4-5.
His hearing is great, he's told us several times he's glad we did it. And
he just got over a cold that we barely even noticed that he had. A runny
nose, a mild cough, 3-4 days and that was it.
So I would say that it might be a good idea, and it isn't as scary an event
as it sounds.
My son, who is now 5, had surgery when he was 3 and a half to
remove his adenoids and tonsils, and to have ear tubes
inserted. Dr. Wesman at Children's pe! rformed the surgery. The
surgery was a success and it was a good thing I decided to go
ahead with it. Before surgery he had sleep apnea, constant
runny nose, he was tired, the quality of his life and mine were
very negatively affected. The surgery changed everything for
the better, he slept, I slept, I stopped spending money on
alternative therapies that did nothing (diet change,
homeopathy, acupressure, osteopathy), and I got to stop being
worried and preoccupied. I highly recommend the procedure.
My daughter was recently diagnosed with adnenoidal hypertrophy
(enlarged adenoids). She's been referred to the ENT Dr's group
of Dr. Scott, Hseih and Murphy. Does anyone have any
experience with this diagnosis on their children or with these
Dr's. I'm wondering if you opted for surgical treatment, or
waiting for them to grow out of the overgrowth. What made you
decide the treatment. Any tips or advice?
Hello...One of my 8 year old sons has recently been seen by Dr.
Murphy. What a sweetheart! He assessed him with enlarged
adnoids, but instead of jumping to surgery, he suggested a
months course of treatment using a saline solution we squirted
into his nose every morning. We just saw Dr. Murphy last week
and the situation is much improved. My son's ears don't hurt
and he is breathing better through his nose (I can tell at night
that he is using his nose to breathe, not his mouth). Dr.
Murphy's philosophy is to avoid surgery if it's possible. Our
beloved pediatrician was actually Dr. Murphy's ped. when he was
a child and inspired him to become a dr. himself. He's got a
delightful manner, and spoke to my son about his symptoms like
he was the patient.
I highly recommend you give him a try. If surgery is not
necessary, he will find other avenues.
my son has the same problem,,,you need to get him in a sleep
study,,,kaiser oakland does this,,,or wait and see if by age 5
he or she out grows them.
Our daughter is four and she has enlarged tonsils as well as
adenoids. We just had her evaluated by an ENT and they are
three times the normal size for kids her age. Her breathing has
always been rough and she uses her mouth a lot. We also notice
that when she gets a cold it lasts a week longer than it
should. So the upshot of all this is that we have scheduled
surgery for the removal of both at Children's in early
November. Want to stay in touch to see how it goes or talk more
let me know.
Hello. My almost five year old has sleep problems, namely
frothing at the mouth and breath holding (while sleeping). Dr.
Wesman as Children's recommends removal of his adenoids. He
says this is a 5 minute procedure. Has anyone had any
experience of this sort with Dr. Wesman, or, has anyone had a 5
minute adenoid removal/surgery? Any insight would be helpful.
Our 8 year old son just had his tonsils and adenoids removed by
Dr. Wesman (in March of this year) and we can highly recommend
him. He had some of the same problems, although not as much
trouble breathing as what you described re: your child, and the
first time we went to Dr. Wesman, he did not really recommend
the procedure, but took a wait and see approach. He seemed to
be pretty conservative about it, which to us increased his
credibility. Anyway, the operation takes about 5 minutes but
you will spend at least a couple of hours at the hospital that
day, with your child in prep and post-op. We thought that Dr.
Wesman was great!! Our son is very intense and does not handle
pain well, and had some anxiety about the whole thing, but Dr.
Wesman came out after the operation and explained how it went in
detail, and we were allowed to stay with our son in post-op when
he started to wake up. He was screaming and crying, as kids do
when they come out of general anesthesia, but the whole place
was very professional and sensitive to his and our needs. I
almost fainted when I saw him crying on the gurney afterward and
they got a bed for me too!! Two months later, our son's
breathing and throat problems have disappeared. There is a
painful recovery period afterward (ours was nearly 2 weeks) but
it is much shorter for just adenoid removal. Don't worry; Dr.
Wesman is the best.
My son had his adenoids out when he was 6. Dr. Wesman was the
surgeon. I was very impressed with the whole procedure - the
nurses before hand were wonderful and gentle, and the doctor was
great. All together, it was probably a half hour, with the
sedation before. They have a waiting room with drinks and
snacks, and they came to get us as soon as he was in recovery.
The recovery process was hard to see - as he came out of the
aenesthesia, he was screaming and thrashing, but he doesn't
remember that at all. My son had his tonsils out at the same
time, so his recovery included sore throat and popsicles, but he
was fine within a few days. Good luck!
My soon to be 17 year old son who is developmentally around 12
had a procedure (nasal biopsy) done by Dr. Wesman. I asked him
if he remembered Dr. Wesman and he answered, ''yes.'' I then
asked him what he thought of him. He said that Dr. Wesman
is ''confident, laid back and he knows what he is doing.'' If you
knew my son, you'd recognize that as a high complement.
My son had ear tubes put in by Dr. Wesman (another 5 minute surgery).
He is an extremely experienced and competent person -- apparently
has done over 5,000 surgeries of this type (and I'm guessing similar
stats hold for adenoid surgery). Everything happened on time and
exactly as scheduled, and my son had no difficulties after.
Two things to be aware of. First, Dr. Wesman is not a ''warm and fuzzy''
sort of person. He relates OK to kids (talks to them on their level), and
my son actually likes him a lot, but he is very brisk and matter of fact, and
takes no extra time with you or your child.
Second, the worst thing about these kinds of 5-minute surgeries is the
kids waking up afterward. They feel very weird from the anesthesia --
my son cried inconsolably for about 20 minutes, even though the pain
was supposed to be minor -- they assured me that it was due to feeling
nauseated and spinny-headed and not being able to cope. The nursing
staff there was wonderful with him -- he begged for a ''dinosaur'' (our
pediatrician's method of consoling little boys after shots), and they
managed to find a strange stuffed animal -- his ''mongoose'' which he
has loved dearly ever since.
Dr. Wesman removed my son's adenoids and tonsils last year when
he was 3 and a half. It was one of the best decisions I ever
made for my son. He had always had a hard time breathing, had
sleep apnea, runny nose - I tried all kinds of alternative
remedies and healers, and all kinds of different Western
medicine remedies. Nothing worked, his adenoids were so
enlarged he just couldn't breathe through his nose. The surgery
was quick, his recovery was routine (one full week at home), Dr.
Wesman is very competent and very experienced, and I strongly
recommend that you go through with it. You and your son deserve
a good night's sleep.
My son had his adenoids removed by Dr. Wesman about 4
years ago. And yes, it is possible to have a 5 minute
operation. We had gotten into the waiting room set our stuff
down and just when I was about to go find coffee, before I
left the room, Dr. Wesman came out and was done. I
thought he wanted to talk to us before he started, but he was
actually done!!! The recovery was quick. We took our son
home by about 1:30pm, his operation was at 7:30am. He
was up and about the next day was wasn't 100% for about 3
days. It truly is an easy and quick procedure. Dr. Wesman
is really great with the kids too! Good luck!
Our 5-1/2 yr old has cronically enlarged tonsils. We've seen
Dr. Wesman and he's advised that she's a ''good'' candidate for
having them removed --i.e. not ''must remove them'' or ''don't
We'd like to get a second opinion. Specifically, we'd like to
see another pediatric ENT doc, possibly associated with UCSF,
who is up on all the latest research re. pros and cons, other
treatment options and also methods for removal. We'd read some
web info that indicates there are some surgery methods that
result in a faster recovery rate than the usual ''5-7 days.''
Many thanks. Dana
I know that I am not addressing your request for the name of
another pediatric ENT, but would like to note, as a parent of a
child who had a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy and nasal wash done
by Dr. Wesman in March 2004, his description of your child as
a ''good candidate'' may mean that your child really should have
the operation. I give this phrase that interpretation because
in the two visits our son made to Dr. Wesman before the
operation, he stressed that he is conservative about assessing
candidates for surgery. At the first visit, he suggested that
we take a wait and see approach (wait and see if more symptoms
necessitating surgery developed); at the second visit, several
months later, when there WERE additional symptoms, he still
didn't outright recommend the surgery--we asked for it, because
we had enough information from other postings and conversations
with other parents to convince us that our son's troubles--
difficulty breathing while asleep, repeated rhinitis, strep
throat, and hoarsness -- would be reduced, if not completely
eliminated, by his having the surgery. And, while it took
almost 2 weeks for it all to heal, with the first week being
difficult for the child, our child (who is very intense and
hates pain) he handled it remarkably well. We kept him on over-
the-counter Motrin for the whole healing period and never even
had to use the prescription strength pain reliever that causes
nausea. In short, maybe its a semantic issue with Dr. Wesman's
assessment--he never even said that our son was a ''good
candidate'' for the surgery, but in hindsight, it was clearly the
right thing to do. I would suggest you read the archives'
parents' evaluations of Dr. Wesman as well; we thought he was
I'd like to hear from other parents w/ kids who have big
tonsils. My son has them and they seem to be causing the usual
symptoms: snoring, mouth breathing and some episodes of sleep
apnea (when he has a cold, mainly). The ENT specialist said it's
our call whether we want to do the surgery or wait to see if he
grows out of it. He also said he would do the surgery if it were
his son but that is because he does the procedures all the time.
My husband is inclined to wait; I am leaning toward doing the
surgery. The archived posts about the surgery were very helpful,
but I'd like to hear from the those who waited.
There is a procedure called somnoplasty (www.somnoplasty.com)
that you should investigate. It is a minimally invasive
procedure used to shrink tissues such as tonsils that are
causing respiratory problems. (They were a PR client of mine
several years back.) I don't know if the procedure is approved
for children yet, but it's definitely something you should look
Hi, our 3 year old daughter just had her tonsils and adenoids
taken out last fall at Childrens Hospital (Dr. Westman, the best
guy around for this). After years of snoring so loud you could
hear her through the house, complications from simple colds, and
too many strep infections, we finally asked for a referral to
Westman.&! nbsp; He took one look at her and said her tonsils were
easily in the top 1%. They can do sleep testing, if you're not
sure, but based on the size alone and watching her, he was sure
she was suffering from sleep dep.
The surgery went smoothly, a week at home after is typical. Dr.
Westman himself took my couple of calls with questions during
that period. She has slept like a churchmouse (so quietly!) and
has benefited tremendously from our decision to take the leap.
Another child at our preschool had the same surgery done at 3
years (with Westman) and his mother reported similar relief.
Hope this helps.
We had our younger son's tonsils and adenoids removed at age 6, and we
should have done it at age 2. Your son's situation sounds a bit
though, but just in case it's relevant: Our son had continual ear
from infancy, and was never off antibiotics. We belonged to an HMO for
first 5 years, and we regularly hauled him into urgent care on weekends
the HMO office was closed, where we'd see the same retired pediatrician
would shake his head, and tell us that our kid needed a T&A in the
But our HMO would not approve it. Our son developed occasional sleep
also, and I spent many nights with him; we've been told that his chest
somewhat sunken from his struggles to breathe during those years. We
changed insurance, and our new pediatrician approved the surgery on the
visit - sleep apnea is a potentially fatal disorder and a very serious
When he had the surgery, he developed complications because the tonsils
adenoids were so large and so scarred - the whole scene was a mess.
surgery wasn't a miracle - he continue to have allergies and ! fairly
colds. But he rarely needed antibiotics after the surgery, and had no
problems with sleep apnea. It was absolutely the right thing to do.
with your decision!
Dear Big tonsils;
I have twin boys whose tonsils are so big that new doctors gasp
when looking into their mouths for the first time! All of their
doctors have said, thankfully, to leave them alone as long as
the tonsils aren't problematic. My boys never had ear
infections and the like. They have been amazingly healthy and
illness free. One doctor believed that their immune systems
would only be compromised by the surgery. (And don't forget the
risks of any surgery, especially when it's not absolutely
necessary) Yes, my boys are shockingly loud snorers at times
but other than that, it just hasn't been a big deal.
My own tonsils were taken out when I was only 18 months old due
to chronic tonsilitis. To this day, my throat is the weak link
in my body - lots of throat issues. Maybe if I had my tonsils...
Consider a consult on a tonsillectomy. There's a doc at
Childrens' Hospital who does a lot of them.
My child had tonsils that got so big they were touching each
other at the back of her throat. She couldn't taste a thing, and
had constant ear infections.
We avoided a tonsillectomy until my daughter was 8 and
had a cold, and I found myself on the phone with the doctor,
holding the phone so she could tell if my daughter's raspy
breathing was OK, or if we should go to the Emergency
Room. We went for the consult and had her tonsils out 3
weeks later. It was hard to do, but good for my child, in the
long run. She had a bad sore throat for 2 weeks, then was
We tried antibiotics and homeopathy to no avail. Once the
tonsils were out, her long-moribund taste began to revive,
and her health improved tremendously.
We waited too long. You might consider an earlier
There's a sound-based procedure for removing tonsils that
you might try for. Not sure if it's covered by insurance.
I can't speak from a parents point of view, but rather from the
partner of someone who didn't have the procedure done as a
child. My exboyfriends parents were very anti-surgery/anti-
physician kind of hippies so unless a leg was broken you didn't
go to the doctor. He had very large tonisils at a young age
which eventually led to severe snoring and sleep apnea (loss of
oxygen during sleep). The sleep apnea resulting in overeating
and obesity due to sleep deprivation and very low energy. He
couldn't stay awake at the movies in his 20's or even in front
of a TV program. Finally in his early 30's I was able to
convince my partner to get his tonsils out - something that
should have been done years before. He dropped 100 lbs., the
snoring has subsided significantly (I'm grateful for that), he
has a great deal more energy and can finally stay awake through
a movie. He, and many others, wish they could have had them out
while they were young. It would have been healthier for him to
have had them out in his tweens. If you are still uncertain I
suggest you get another ENT opinion
Relieved to have them out
I'm interested in the responses as well. We are in a similiar
situation. Plus we have noticed that our child's chest is
dipping in from the difficulty breathing at night (our guess).
Our ENT said ''whatever you want'' to us too. Doesn't help does it?
I do not know your insurance, but I would schedule a consultation
with Bernard Drury, M.D.--he has offices in Oakland and Orinda
and is considered by my physician-spouse, colleagues, and me the
finest otolaryngologist in the Bay area. As well as being a
gifted surgeon and diagnostician, he has a lovely! bedside
manner. Most importantly, he is not a surgical zealot!
I did not read the original post, sorry, but know that there are
multiple criterion for having a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, one
or both. Whether a child's growth is being stunted, whether or
not sleep apnea is happening, whether the tonsils are'' kissing,''
habitually or just during an infectious stage, 4-6 ear infection
occurences/yearly, 4-6 bouts of tonsilitis, annually, assymetry
in tonsil size, and the list goes on and on. There is the
argument to be made that tonsils are a vital part of the immune
system, but, yet, ''bad'' tonsils can serve to damage immunity and
growth. As well, sometimes the adenoids are the culprit, and,
sometimes, adenoids are the culprit but should not come out
because a child might have a sub-mucosal cleft palette and
forever talk nasallly and strangely if the adenoids were to be
removed; sometimes enough structure can be left so as not to
I know nothing about the quality of your otolaryngologist, but
your kid deserves to be seen by someone superlative.
Bernard Drury is FABULOUS!!
Good luck to you!
One more item of note: my little guy (4 years old) has Class III
tonsils and does not need a tonsillectomy--his snoring and ear
infections alerted us to the possibility that he might; in
prescribing a decongestant and saline nasal spray, Dr. Drury
eliminated my son
Wants her own tonsils back but is not! anti-tonsillectomy
My son had his giant tonsils removed when he was almost 4. The
tonsils were so big that we have pictures of him laughing with
the tonsils shining like big marbles in the back of his mouth.
They seemed to block his breathing at times at night. Our own
pediatrician was not concerned, but one of his partners took one
look and asked if we had considered having them removed. We
discussed it further with our own pediatrician and the surgeon
and decided to do it. Our son was VERY anxious about it (he was
afraid the knife wou! ld hurt), but Children's Hospital handled
the whole thing very well, with pre-op visits, a social worker,
a little demerol to calm him down right before the procedure,
etc. It took him about a week to recover from the sore throat,
and since then, he has been MUCH healthier. In contrast, his
older sister, whose tonsils never came out, was plagued for
years with strep throat, asthma, a couple of bouts of pneumonia
(until we started annual flu vaccines).
no regrets with tonsillectomy
Considering having tonsils out for sleep apnea
My 5 year old son was diagnosed as having sleep apnea and his
pediatrician as well as the specialist we were referred to, said that
having his adenoids and tonsils removed will very likely be beneficial
for him. My husband and I are very inclined to have the surgery done,
since he doesn't sleep and eat well and snores a lot. However I would
appreciate hearing from other peoples' experience on the subject and
comments about the doctor that we were referred to. The specialist's
name is Dr. Wesman.
(see also Parents' accounts of kids' Tonsils Surgery
My son, Benjamin, developed breathing problems and sleep apnea when he was
a toddler--in fact, they postponed the operation on his tonsils and
adenoids until he was 2 years old. Having the operation made a tremendous
difference in Benjamin (after he recovered, of course!): he was more alert
during the day, he started eating better and growing again (he had been on
a growth plateau for a while), and his energy level went up. A side
benefit was that we could no longer hear him sleeping from the other room!
Sleep apnea is nothing to fool around with, and I've never been sorry we
subjected him to the operation. I stayed overnight at the Children's
Hospital with him and we did what we could with books and talking to
prepare him for the experience. Stock up on ice cream!
My son had large tonsils and adenoids also when he was small (he
didn't have x-rays to prove it though?). His snores could be heard
throughout the house when he was between 2 -4.5. The doctors talked
about possible surgery and he almost went in for a sleep test to see
if he actually had apnea. (He didn't struggle/toss & turn as much as
it seems your son does though.) But just before the test date he seemed
to start sleeping better. I decided to hold off on both surgery and
the overnight test because the specialist (at Kaiser) said something
like most kids "grow into" their tonsil and adenoid size by about
5 years old. And that seems to be what happened. His snores
(he also "moaned" loadly in his sleep) gradually got quieter and
got quieter and then almost disappeared by 5 yrs. old. Now at 11 yrs. he
sleeps normally and pretty quietly.
7-year-old may need tonsils out
My seven-year-old son has recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea, which
his pediatrician says may be caused by his tonsils, which appear to be large
and may be blocking his airway when he lies down. While we are waiting for
our appointment with the E,N,T specialist, I'd appreciate hearing from
anyone else who may have been through this or know about it. I expect the
recommendation may be to have his tonsils removed (and maybe also the
adenoids). I'd hate to do that because he's been really very healthy so far
and I'd hate for him to lose that "germ filter", but I would do it because
it's necessary so he can get a solid night's sleep.
Can anyone offer information, or refer me to websites with info on treatment
options? Thanks in advance.
I have a friend who had sleep apnea for quite a while as an adult. In his
case, it eventually led to epilepsy. The brain becomes starved for oxygen,
and it can cause all sort of negative effects. I definitely would
recommend checking this out in your decision-making process. I'm sure
there's some more current information that can shed light on the odds of
this particular complication, and help you to decide which path is right
for you and your son.
I had a child with sleep apnea from tonsils and adenoids. She had
alot of ear infections in her first year, which resolved by the time
she was two., but the enlarged tonsils continued. She was a horrible
snorer, and we would hear her stop breathing in the middle of the
night (this is the sleep apnea part). Her breath also smelled awful
since she had these chronically infected tonsils right at the back of
her mouth. At 3, she was tiny, down to the 10th percentile for weight
and 30th for height.
I should add at this point, that I am a plastic surgeon and my husband
is an anesthesiologist. We knew what sleep apnea was. Our
pediatrician on the other hand, thought we were over reacting. We
waited for the winter to end, as he asked, and the snoring continued
through the summer and into the fall. We pushed for the surgery even
though the pediatrician did not agree. SHE GAINED 5 LBS AND GREW 3
INCHES in 5 weeks after the procedure, which often happens when sleep
apnea is resolved.
Children do the majority of the growing during sleep and when sleep
apnea is present, they cannot rest and do not grow well. Also, facial
growth can be affected by chronic airway obstruction. If your child
sleeps with his head thrown back and mouth wide open, the middle
portion of the face develops differently.
Go to the ENT and trust what he says. The surgery in young children
is alot easier than when they get older. If he has chronically
infected and enlarged tonsils, they are not working to provide
immunity from infection.
Parents' accounts of kids' Tonsils Sugery
Our pedatric ENT has recommended surgery to remove my 2yr. old son's
tonsils and adenoids due to obstructed breathing (tonsils 3x larger,
adenoids 2.5x larger than normal). He does wake up frequently at
night trying to get a breath, so I am hoping he will sleep better after
the surgery. There's still part of me that is hesitating to get the
surgery done, because the docs say that children may (or may not) grow out
of this condition. They also say he won't suffocate from it, but probably
won't sleep as soundly as he could. I would just like to hear from others
who have had their child's tonsils out at this age to get an idea of what
the recovery period is like from this type of surgery and what I can do to
help him as much as I can.
P.S. Thanks to those of you who responded to my "Sleep Apnea" question
before he was diagnosed.
My son had his enlarged tonsils and adanoids out mid year in Kindergarten
(he was 6 1/2). His sleep has changed dramatically (he doesn't seem to need
as much) and his appetite too...he's gained 11 lbs and is now in the 90th
percentile for weight (always before he was in the 50th). His recovery time
was about a week total...the first day was the worst, as he is picky about
taking medicines, and he didn't want to take anything, so the pain was pretty
bad. Within a couple of days, though, he was fine. I never saw a person eat
so many popsicles!
My 5 yr. old had his tonsils out at 3 yrs. of age. After the surgery
the Dr. said his tonsils were so scarred that they reminded him of an
adults. He also had his adenoids out, and tubes put in his ears. All this
to a child who never complained about a sore throat, and only had 2 ear
infections, and those as a baby. He did suffer from sleep apnea though. The
only difference was that they wouldn't do the surgery until he turned 3. I
have to say that it was well worth it though. I had to go in at night to
check to make sure that he was breathing, because it was so quiet, Prior to
the surgery, I was always able to hear him snoring in my bedroom. The first
few days after the surgery, you will need love, patience, and understanding.
Lots of popsicles too. My son lived on them for 2 days. That and childrens
tylenol. Good luck.
My son when he was two had really gaspy night breathing/snoring and after
an X-ray it was determined that he had very large tonsils/adnenoids. We
saw Dr. Wessman at Oakland's Children's hospital and felt he did a great
job explaining the procedure. The stafff in the outpatient wing where the
surgery is performed were all great and really had a way with small kids.
We had the first surgery of the day at 7am and left the recovery room by
11am. The surgery itself lasted 10 minutes. I think recovery for our son
was a bit longer because he was at the end of a cold and he was too young
to really communicate just how much his throat hurt. We kept him home for
about a week and it was probably two weeks till he was back to his same old
self---except there is no more snoring and no more gasping in his sleep.
Our son had his tonsils removed in an out-patient visit to Children's
Hospital in 1995, when he was not quite 4 years old (I'm pretty sure it
was Dr. Wesman, I can't remember for sure). He had huge tonsils (You can
see them in pictures from that period if he is laughing with his mouth is
open). He also had sleep apnia and snored incredibly loudly. The
experience was not one I would put a child through unnecessarily, but I
think he definitely benefited from it, and I was very satisfied with the
treatment at Children's Hospital.
He was very articulate and very nervous about the procedure. When we
first went to see the doctor, my son explained that he really didn't want
to have his tonsils out because he was afraid the knife would hurt. The
doctor's jaw dropped--I don't think he was used to such discussions with
3-year-olds. Bribes of icecream whenever he wanted did not help, but he
did feel better when he realized he could skip eating broccoli for a week.
They had a social worker who met with him before hand, showed us what
would happen, and answered his questions. By then, our son had figured
out that not only was he free of broccoli, but that his older sister would
still have to eat it! The day of the operation, they gave him demoral
before taking him off. That calmed him down considerably. Later on, when
he was "missing" his tonsils, we called the social worker again, so he
could ask what happened to them. The social worker was very good with
him, helpful to us, and also amazed that a 3 year old was concerned with
IT took him about a week to fully recover from the surgery. A sadder
looking person you had never seen for the first two days, but then his old
bouncy self returned. Since then, the snoring and sleep apnia are gone
(but the pattern of wakefulness at night has remained to this day).
I had my tonsils out at age 2 (in 1964 when it was fashionable to do this).
I never missed them, though I *do* remember being in the hospital, which
indicates it was not a completely trival experience. My stepdaughter has
had many rounds of strep, and her orthodontist says that some of her
problems may be due to "tongue-thrust" resulting from too-large tonsils. I
have considered having them removed, but it seems like such a dramatic
thing to do at this point that I am reluctant. Seems to me that earlier
would have been better. Good luck with your decision!
I had them out when I was 11, and it really wasn't bad! All the ice
cream and attention and not going to school during recovery made it sort
of an adventure. Just in case people were worrying that 11 might be too
Our daughter's pediatrician recommended that we see Dr. Wesman about having
her HUGE tonsils removed. Callie was 5 and she was always breathing very
loudly and with much effort as she slept.
The staff at Children's were just wonderful. The day before they explained
what was to happen at just the right information level for Callie. She
wanted to know how they removed the tonsils, but forgot to ask. (The staff
said that the 5 year olds ask but don't really want to know. The eight year
olds want to know and some want to keep them) She was well prepared and
ready when we went in for the surgery the next morning which took 10-15
minutes (which seemed like hours for my husband and me!). We had to remain
in the surgery center for 2 hours after she came out, to allow her to come
out of the anesthesia as well as watch for any unusual bleeding.
Upon bringing her home, she was quite hungry, as she couldn't have
breakfast, and had some soup. The pain killer started to wear off around
dinner time, and she was able to swallow the syrup (I think it had codeine
in it), but after that she survived the pain with Tylenol. She only needed
it for two days. Two days after surgery she wanted to go back to school (we
went for a visit) and even ate the nacho chip snack. After 5 days she was
back in school for a few hours and after a week she was pretty much back to
As for appetite and growth, it's hard to tell if it has made a difference,
but Callie is definitely breathing at night with much less effort which
allows US to sleep better at night. We had just gotten used to it over the
years, but were amazed at how she didn't have to work so hard at breathing
after the operation.
Cary and Denise
My 6 year old daughter, Heather, had her tonsils out over these past
holidays. The experience with Dr. Wesman and Children's Surgery Center was
wonderful and thankfully Heather had no complications. The recovery for her
was not so easy though. It was 6 nights of sleeping only 2-3 hours at a
time, screaming with pain. Her stomach couldn't handle the tylenol with
codiene and the plain tylenol wasn't as effective. For her, day six was the
worst of all. I found out one thing after the fact, which is why I write
If your child (like mine) has a low pain threshold, request the Tylenol with
codeine in suppository form. We were not told it was available until I asked
after the fact. It was very hard for my daughter to swallow even the plain
Tylenol. The suppositories would have made life easier. Jane
My son is eleven and just had his tonsils removed. From the time he was a baby, he had many many ear
infections. Our ENT put in tubes a couple of times and removed his adenoids. We suffered through years and
years of ear infections, doctor visits and antibiotics. When I asked for tonsil removal I was told that it is not
recommend for ear infections, even though they said he had large tonsils. My son snored loudly, complained
of being tired all the time and just didn't feel well. He was having throat infections, fluid in his ears and his
glands seemed to always be swollen. He was missing alot of school. Finally, a new ENT agreed to remove
his tonsils. She said he had sleep apnea that was caused by these very large tonsils. That's why he'd been
tired even after a full night's sleep. She said he won the prize for the largest tonsils. Some prize! Now my son
is sleeping peacefully and no longer snores. He feels well rested and actually has energy! If someone had
done this surgery for us years ago, it would have saved me alot of missed work, time and money spent on
doctors appointments and medication, not to mention all the suffering my son was going through.
I want to mention a complication from the surgery. Two nights after the surgery my son coughed up some
blood clots. We called the after hours emergency number and we were told to have him do some cold water
rinses until the bleeding stopped. The doctor on call (not our ENT) assured us once we had the bleeding
stopped that he would be fine. He said it was not likely to reoccur. We didn't want to over react, so we did
what this doctor recommended. We watched him for about an hour to make sure there was no more bleeding,
then we let him go back to sleep. I slept in the same room with him. While he was sleeping the bleeding
apparently began again and drained into his stomach. Several hours later he woke up vomiting blood and
gagging, repeatedly. In the emergency room, they removed a very large clot and put some silver nitrate on the
area to stop the bleeding. They told us the scab had came off prematurely. (I wonder if the surgery had been
done when he was younger, before the tonsils got to be so huge if this would have been as likely to happen?)
Anyway, I want other parents to know they should be very cautious if they see ANY bleeding. Knowing what I
know now, I would have taken him to the ER when he had the first bleed. This could have been life
threatening. It's an experience I won't soon forgot.
Enlarged tonsils in 4 1/2 year old
Our 4 1/2 year old son has always had large tonsils. At a recent doctor's visit
where he was diagnosed with strep for the tird time in 2 years, the doctor
suggested an ENT consult regarding having them removed. He has been
generally healthy but does seem to have allergies. Any knowledge out there
about the current thoughts on tonsils and there removal? Thanks
One of my three children has always had enlarged tonsils (she seems
relatively immune to strep for some reason). She has some difficulty
swallowing bulky items (e.g. only likes soft, mushy stuff), always has a
nasaly talk, then went through a period of having a hair in her mouth that
caused speech problems, etc. We had already had her tested for allergies
several years before (negative). We finally got referred to an ENT and after
a few minutes, Dr. Wesman said that her tonsils are enlarged, but he took one
look up her nose and he was very clear that it looked like allergies to him.
The allergist had warned me that although her test was negative several years
ago, at some point, the test may be positive. And I've noticed recently that
her allergies were cycling with mine (spring hay fever is over for now.) So,
if your insurance will pay for it, an ENT consult might be useful information
- it's steering us in a clear direction after years of wondering about the
enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
this page was last updated: Jul 16, 2013
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