Tonsil surgery is associated with significant morbidity during recovery. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) are the golden standard for the planning and follow-up of delivered care, which should also be an axiom for children. The current aims were to describe self-reported postoperative recovery in children after tonsil surgery, and to compare tonsillotomy and tonsillectomy in this aspect.
Totally, 238 children (4-12 years old) with a history of obstructive problems and/or recurrent tonsillitis, undergoing tonsil surgery were included. Forty-eight per cent were operated with partial tonsil resection/tonsillotomy (TT) and 52% with total tonsillectomy (TE), all in day surgery.
Postoperative recovery was assessed on days 1, 4 and 10 using the validated self-rating instrument PRiC, Postoperative Recovery in Children, which includes 23 items covering different aspects of recovery after tonsil surgery. PRiC was distributed both as a traditional text instrument and with photo illustrations.
Daily life activities (sleeping, eating and playing), and physical (e.g., headache, stomach ache, throat ache, otalgia, dizziness, nausea, defecation, urination) and emotional aspects (sadness, frightening dreams) were affected during the recovery period.
The TE-girls showed significantly higher scores than the boys in many factors.
Children above 6 years of age reported higher values for the physical comfort variables while the younger group showed worse emotional states.
Postoperative recovery improved from day 1 to 10 in all surgical groups. The TE-group had lower recovery compared to the TT-group (p < 0.01 – 0.001) in most items.
The goal of postoperative management is to minimise or eliminate discomfort, facilitating the recovery process and avoiding complications. Children are able to describe their recovery after tonsil surgery, and thus, PRiC can serve as a PROM to obtain patient-centred data after tonsil surgery.