Tonsillectomy | Purpose, Contraindications, Procedure, Recovery and Complications

3. Respiratory problems

In the study of De Luca et al., the most frequent complication was respiratory problems, with incidence rate of 9.4% of all children following tonsillectomy. One of the possible respiratory complications after tonsillectomy is pulmonary edema, which may occur during the surgery, or just after a few hours post-operatively. Treatment of mild cases is usually by using diuretics and morphine. Children with obstructive sleep apnea, and down syndrome are at higher risk of developing post-operative pulmonary edema.

Intra-operative administration of steroids can help to decrease post-operative pharyngeal swelling, which may lead to airway obstruction. In this case, uses of narcotics and respiratory depressants drugs should be used with cautious.