Children's pain at home following (adeno) tonsillectomy

Eur J Pain. 2002;6(3):213-9. doi: 10.1053/eujp.2001.0326.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and severity of children's pain at home following (adeno)tonsillectomies. The subjects were parents of 161 children (86 boys, 75 girls) undergoing myringotomies, adenoidectomies and (adeno)tonsillectomies. The mean age of the children was 5.5 years (SD=2.4; range 1-14). Parents were asked to assess the child's average pain on the day of operation and 7 days after the operation, using a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Parents from (adeno)tonsillectomy patients were also interviewed by phone on day 7.The mean VAS pain intensity scores by period (day of operation until 7th day after operation) differed between the myringotomy (3.2), adenoidectomy (10.6), and (adeno)tonsillectomy (22.1) group (F(2,133)=31.65; p<0.001). The VAS ratings were highest for the tonsillectomy group (p<0.001). There was a trend that pain intensity scores for adenoidectomies were significantly higher than scores for myringotomies (p=0.07). In the interviews, 81% of the parents stated that their child suffered pain at home. However, this was not necessarily a reason to administer an analgesic. Furthermore, parents reported pain-related problems like problems regarding eating, fluid intake, vomiting and sleep disturbance. Finally, 67% of the children at home recalled severe pain experience in the hospital. It was concluded that especially following (adeno)tonsillectomies children suffer clinically significant pain at home and that the management of pain and related problems needs to be clearly improved.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage
  • Acetaminophen / therapeutic use
  • Adenoidectomy*
  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Home Nursing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / complications
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology*
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology
  • Parents / psychology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Suppositories
  • Tonsillectomy*
  • Vomiting / etiology


  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Suppositories
  • Acetaminophen