Complications of an Adenoidectomy and a Tonsillectomy

People, especially children, who develop chronic sore throat symptoms or strep throat infections may experience relief from persistent throat discomfort after undergoing a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. This surgical procedure involves the removal of the tonsils and adenoids, small glands at the back of the throat that help support the immune system. Before surgery, a doctor or surgeon should discuss the complications of a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy with all patients.

Mother checking her daughter's temperature. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)


After surgery, the incision sites at the back of the throat may begin to bleed or hemorrhage. If bleeding complications develop, they most frequently occur within five to 10 days after surgery, according to the Association of Surgical Technologists. Frequent swallowing may be a sign that the surgical site is bleeding. Swallowing blood may also irritate the stomach, leading to nausea or vomiting. Patients who experience bleeding for longer than a few minutes or vomit blood should be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.

Breathing Difficulties

Excessive throat swelling following an adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy may severely limit the amount of air that can pass from the nose or mouth into the lungs. This complication of surgery may result in significant breathing difficulties that, without appropriate and immediate medical intervention, may be life-threatening, the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin warns.


Sore throat symptoms after surgery may make it difficult or uncomfortable for a patient to swallow normally. Consequently, certain patients, such as children, may avoid eating or drinking foods or beverages, which can increase their risk of developing dehydration, MedlinePlus reports. Symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst, fatigue, decreased urination, weakness, headache or dizziness. Excessive sleepiness or fussiness, fever, increased heart rate and dry skin are signs of severe dehydration, warns, and affected patients should be taken to an emergency medical facility as soon as possible to prevent additional medical complications.


A mild fever may arise in certain patients as a complication of an adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy. Patients with fever may also experience chills, flushing, headache or sweating. If fever symptoms persist or are unusually high, affected patients should be taken to a physician for additional care.

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