Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy for 4 year old

My 4 year old was just formally diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea and needs a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.  We are totally freaked out by the idea of surgery and general anesthesia and the potential for bleeding, but we are more freaked out by the long term health implications of severe obstructive sleep apnea.  We have Kaiser and have been working with Dr. Shane Zim in Oakland because that's who we were randomly assigned to.  He seems very competent and responsive, but I am still looking for reassurance from moms who have been through this surgery before.  Does anyone have experience with this kind of surgery at Kaiser Oakland or with Dr. Zim in particular? How freaked out should we be? If your child had sleep apnea, did the surgery resolve the issue? We have to wait for about 10 weeks for a surgery date, should we be pushing them to move it up? Thank you for any advice or reassurance you can give.

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My three sons had this surgery and it corrected all of their problems. They were eating within six hours of surgery. Really - don’t worry! Expect a horrible mouth odor for about 8-10 days.

I'm sorry you and your baby have to go through this. Our child had the same surgery at Kaiser Oakland (in the old hospital) about 5 years ago when she was 7. We had a different doctor. Honestly, it will be worse for you than for them. We were also obviously worried beyond belief, but the pediatric anesthesiologist and ENT were amazing and everything was fine. The sleep apnea was GONE immediately (and has never returned, although they say adenoids/tonsils can grow back). I would never hesitate to do it again, and this is from a mom who tried SO many alternative strategies including diet and acupuncture. Yes, I would push for a sooner surgery, sleep apnea is a real and miserable thing. Our child had a clot that broke off once we were home that terrified us, (and was 'normal' and did not require a return visit) I'd say you need to watch for post operative bleeding, not common but we stayed up all night just to keep an eye out. Good luck to you all - I know it's a horrible worry but you need to trust your gut and do your best to help you child, and that's not always easy.

I suggest requesting a consultation at Children's hospital. This is a state of the art facility with the best of the best for your child. 

The surgery Kaiser is recommending is very serious and, in my opinion, requires a second opinion for the very best.

I totally understand why you might be feeling freaked out about this - handing over your little kid to a surgeon is scary! (I am a total surgery-phobe. If that's a word.) But it *works.* It changed our son's life for the better, unequivocally.

Our son had the same procedure done at 3-1/2, as soon as they said he was old enough--at Kaiser San Leandro (outpatient--we would have had to go to Oakland for inpatient, but outpatient was fine). He'd had sleep apnea since birth, and in the meantime, we'd had another baby (no sleep apnea, but a baby's a baby), and there was not much sleep of any kind going on in our household, everybody up and down all night long, every night. It was bad. And the surgery was no fun, either--I won't lie. Recovery was painful and he was a sad panda for quite a few days there. (If at all possible, try to have one parent home with your kid for at least a week.)

BUT the sleep apnea disappeared the first night after the surgery. He's 6-1/2 now and has never had it since, has never had any sleep disruptions at all, besides the occasional nightmare. Now, in fact, he cannot be roused, even to get up and go pee. That's another story, but his breathing's great! He'd also always had a tendency to gag on his food a lot--that cleared up pretty well, too, after the surgery.

I have heard of kids needing to get the surgery done a second time after a couple years--no idea the medical circumstances of that, but I do know that the remedy held the second time. But in our case, I can wholeheartedly recommend it and reassure you that it is worth it. Good luck to you and your child!

Our daughter was diagnosed with sleep apnea at age 10, after a sleep study recommended by her pediatrician.   She had a tonsillectomy and the sleep apnea was gone.   At Stanford Children's they have social worker therapists for the kids to prepare for surgery and let parents stay until child is in the OR.  We asked tons of questions and insisted that the Pediatric ENT do the surgery not one of the residents or fellows.

My daughter had the very same apnea issue and had both tonsils and adenoids removed at Kaiser Oakland (different surgeon, though). She did great - couldn't have gone more smoothly, and surprisingly easy recovery (she didn't even take any painkillers afterward - just popsicles). I did give her arnica on the recommendation of a homeopath (I am a bit skeptical of homeopathy, but figured it couldn't hurt to try - and, of course, I have no idea if it actually helped, or it was just a coincidence that her recovery was so easy). I was super freaked out about the surgery - terrified to be honest. But, as I said, it ended up being super easy and it did resolve her apnea. You are in good hands at Kaiser.