HF 5671

Caring for a Child After Neck Surgery

What to Expect After Surgery

Your child may have nausea from the anesthesia.

Your child will have a small neck incision. There may be a drain in the neck for 1-2 days. If there is, your child will be kept overnight in the hospital.

Incision Care

Keep the neck area dry for 48 hours (2 days). After 48 hours, clean the incision by rinsing and gently patting the skin. Do not scrub the incision for 2 weeks after surgery, or as directed by your surgeon at discharge.


Start with clear liquids and slowly move to solid foods. If your child still has nausea, start over with clear liquids and slowly advance.


Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen for pain relief or fever as needed.


No sports, swimming, or heavy exercise or lifting for the next 14 days.

Follow Up

A follow up visit may be scheduled about 1-2 weeks after surgery.

When to Call

  • Signs of infection:

  • Redness
    o Swelling
    o Soreness
    o Warmth
    o Pus-like drainage

  • Fever over 102° F

  • Nausea or vomiting the first 2-3 days after surgery

  • Pain not controlled by pain medicine

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

Who to Call

If your child was seen for their pre-op visit in the Pediatric ENT Clinic in Madison at the American Family Children’s Hospital, please call (608) 263-6420, option 3, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.

If your child was seen for their pre-op visit in the Pediatric ENT Clinic in Rockford at the Women and Children’s Hospital, please call (779) 696-8499, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

After hours, weekends or holidays, please call the Madison/American Family Children’s Hospital phone number. This number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the otolaryngology (ENT) doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

The toll-free number is 1-800-323-8942.