Perioperative psychosocial interventions for autistic children undergoing ENT surgery

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1997 Jun 20;40(2-3):107-13. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5876(97)01507-3.


Tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy is one of the most frequently performed operations in the United States. It is therefore likely that pediatric ENG surgeons will encounter autistic and developmentally delayed children in routine practice. Autistic children differ from normal children in that they exhibit severe deficits in language and social functioning; abnormal reaction to stimuli such as light, sound, touch, and pain; attachments to particular unusual objects and rigidly stereotyped routines. They are often mentally retarded. With the increasing importance of managed care and continuous quality improvement, knowledge of how to manage the operative course of such children is crucial for the practising surgeon. Based on research and clinical knowledge of these children, certain psychosocial and medical interventions are presented which may improve the operative course of this population. Using the parent as a consultant; decreasing separation from familiar caretakers, objects, and routines; pre-operative role-playing; tailoring anesthetic induction; and using post-operative distractors are suggested techniques.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy / psychology*
  • Autistic Disorder / complications
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Home Nursing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Otolaryngology / methods*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / psychology
  • Psychology
  • Tonsillectomy / psychology*
  • Tonsillitis / complications
  • Tonsillitis / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome