Pediatricians play an important role in the perioperative care of hospitalized children after tonsillectomy and are often called upon to manage posttonsillectomy problems in the outpatient setting. The tonsillectomy operation has changed in recent years. More children are operated upon for sleep disordered breathing and fewer for recurrent pharyngitis. New instruments now permit less invasive surgery. Systematic reviews by the Cochrane Collaboration and others have helped define best practices for preoperative assessment and postoperative care. This article will outline these practices as defined in the 2011 American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation clinical practice guideline “Tonsillectomy in Children.” It will describe the different tonsillectomy operations, discuss patterns of normal healing, and review management of pain and posttonsillectomy hemorrhage to form a foundation for improved pediatric care.

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