Postoperative depression has been reported in adults undergoing open heart surgery and mastectomy. Tonsillectomy is a commonly performed procedure and can be associated with significant morbidity including pain, difficulty swallowing, dehydration, and bleeding. While adults may be able to express their feelings about the postoperative course, children often are unable to express themselves. Because postoperative depression may manifest itself in unusual behavior that is dismissed as "expected," it may go unrecognized. We present three case reports in which the child demonstrated signs of depression following tonsillectomy. We believe that depression following tonsillectomy occurs more frequently than has been recognized. We describe the diagnosis and management of posttonsillectomy depression to increase the otolaryngologist's awareness of this entity.
(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:105-108)