Adenoidectomy (Adenoid Removal Procedure)

What Is the Adenoidectomy Procedure?

An adenoidectomy is a procedure focused on the removal of the adenoids — lymphatic tissue set in the back of the nasal passage. Along with tonsil removal, an adenoid removal procedure is one of the most common surgeries performed on children.

Taking 30 to 40 minutes, the procedure is done in an operating room under general anesthesia. The surgery will not cause any visible scarring as it’s done through the open mouth. Parents may accompany children until the anesthesiologist administers medicine. After that, parents must stay in the waiting area until the procedure is complete.

Who Needs an Adenoid Removal Procedure?

While adenoids play a role in fighting disease when children are very young, as children get older their immune systems improve and adenoids become less central in combating illness. Over time, activity diminishes and the tissue shrinks. By the time we’re adults, the typical adenoid is only about 6 millimeters in diameter.

However, some adenoids become enlarged, continuing to try to fight infections or allergens even as the immune system is doing the same job. If the swelling doesn’t go down, it can lead to infection. If this infection happens often, your child’s physician might recommend a procedure like adenoid removal surgery in order to help relieve their discomfort long term.

Here are the symptoms of an enlarged adenoid:

  • Trouble breathing through the nose
  • Breathing through the mouth (leading to dry lips)
  • Nasally speech
  • Noisy or “Darth Vader” breathing
  • Bad breath due to mouth breathing
  • Snoring
  • Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms
  • Frequent or chronic nose or sinus infections
  • Ear infections, middle ear fluid and/or hearing loss

Before recommending a surgery, your physician will perform a thorough examination and assess the patient for symptoms of chronic adenoiditis.

What To Expect From Adenoid Removal Surgery

While some patients may need to stay overnight for observation, an adenoid removal procedure is typically an outpatient procedure — meaning patients can go home on the same day of the operation. After an adenoidectomy, patients will wake up in a recovery area.

Recovery will take a week or less. There’s no need to worry about stitch removal, the area will typically heal on its own. While you will also receive post-operative care instructions, here are a few things that you can plan to do to help patients recover in comfort:

  • Offer plenty of fluids
  • Returning to normal eating and drinking is possible within hours of the surgery’s completion – begin by offering the patient soft foods such as mashed potatoes, pudding, and gelatin
  • Avoid nose-blowing for a week
  • Avoid horseplay or contact sports for a week
  • A stuffy nose can be addressed by using a clean humidifier
Close up of a woman's ear

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