Financial and utilization concerns have focused on reducing hospitalization costs for many procedures, including tonsillectomy. However, the safety of ambulatory tonsillectomy for all patients remains questionable. At our institution, tonsillectomy has essentially been an inpatient procedure by policy. We have reviewed the charts of 153 consecutive patients under 19 years of age who underwent this procedure between 1989 and 1990, in an attempt to identify “high-risk” subgroups. Variables examined were: indication for surgery, hours to adequate oral intake and to discharge, age, sex, surgeon status, underlying medical condition, complications, and concomitant procedures. Statistically significant differences [p < 0.05) were found in the time to adequate oral intake and discharge for children under 4 years of age as compared to older patients. Furthermore, 7% of patients with a preoperative diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea showed clinical evidence of significant airway compromise postoperatively. No patient in the study group experienced postoperative bleeding before discharge. Our results have identified high-risk subgroups of children undergoing tonsillectomy who are at greater risk for these complications, and therefore may benefit from an inpatient setting.