Care of the Pediatric Patient for Ambulatory Tonsillectomy With or Without Adenoidectomy: The Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia Position Statement

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Anesthesia and analgesia




The landscape of ambulatory surgery is changing, and tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy is one of the most common pediatric surgical procedures performed nationally. The number of children undergoing tonsillectomy on an ambulatory basis continues to increase. The 2 most common indications for tonsillectomy are recurrent throat infections and obstructive sleep-disordered breathing. The most frequent early complications after tonsillectomy are hemorrhage and ventilatory compromise. In areas lacking a dedicated children's hospital, these cases are managed by a nonpediatric specialized anesthesiologist and general otolaryngology surgeon. In response to requests from our members without pediatric fellowship training and/or who care for pediatric patients infrequently, the Pediatric Committee of the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia (SAMBA) developed a position statement with recommendations for the safe perioperative care of pediatric patients undergoing tonsillectomy with and without adenoidectomy in freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities. This statement identifies children that are more likely to experience complications and to require additional dedicated provider time that is not conducive to the rapid pace and staffing ratios of many freestanding ambulatory centers with mixed adult and pediatric practices. The aim is to provide health care professionals with practical criteria and suggestions based on the best available evidence. When high-quality evidence is unavailable, we relied on group consensus from pediatric ambulatory specialists in the SAMBA Pediatric Committee. Consensus recommendations were presented to the Pediatric Committee of SAMBA.


Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine