To evaluate the effectiveness of follow-up telephone interviews and questionnaires after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
Cohort study and retrospective review of the outcomes of patients whose follow-ups were conducted by telephone interview. Patients were contacted 2 to 4 weeks after surgery; responses were recorded on a standardized postoperative questionnaire.
Tertiary pediatric hospital.
A total of 2554 consecutive patients who had undergone tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, or both procedures and completed a follow-up telephone interview during the period of January 8, 2000, to September 23, 2004.
Main Outcome Measures
Time to return to normal diet and activities, postoperative complications, pain management, postoperative visits, and caregiver's evaluation of the follow-up telephone survey.
A total of 2554 patient outcomes were reviewed. The mean patient age was 5.9 years. Follow-up contact occurred a mean of 24.1 days after surgery. Of the surgical procedures performed, there were 1957 adenotonsillectomies, 235 adenoidectomies, and 362 tonsillectomies. At the time of follow-up, 2.7% of the patients had undergone an additional surgical procedure to treat postoperative bleeding, 96.9% had resumed eating a normal diet, and 96.2% had resumed normal activities. Bleeding from the nose or mouth was reported to have occurred at some point during the recovery period in 12.8%. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, a mean pain peak of 6.7 was reported. For most patients, pain was highest on the second day after surgery. The percentage of patients who had temporary voice change was 62.7%, and 15.4% had a follow-up clinic visit. Regarding caregivers, 99.5% reported being given instructions for postoperative care, and 98.8% reported that they felt well prepared to care for their child at home. There were no adverse events reported from surgical intervention.
Compared with our previous experience with scheduled postsurgical clinic follow-ups, telephone interviews and standardized postoperative questionnaires pose no additional risk to patients. Considerable cost reduction and patient convenience were realized with a reduction of patient visits.