Alice A. McCarthy, MBA
Adenoidectomy is the surgical removal of the adenoids. Adenoids are made of tissue located in the back of the nose near the throat. They are thought to be involved in developing immunity against infections in children.
Adenoidectomy is usually done to remove enlarged adenoids that are causing a blockage in the nasal passage. It may also be used to treat long-term sinus infections and recurrent ear infections.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Your doctor will likely do the following:
Do not eat or drink anything six hours prior to the procedure.
is used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the procedure.
The adenoids will be surgically removed through the mouth. A scalpel or another type of tool will be used to remove the adenoid tissue. An electrical current can also be used. Sometimes, the adenoids are removed through the nose. Gauze packs will be placed at the site of the procedure to prevent bleeding.
is a type of procedure that uses heat to destroy tissue. It may be used to reduce the volume and size of the adenoids. This method often has less bleeding. It also seems to cause less pain.
You will be monitored in a recovery room until the anesthesia wears off.
Less than 45 minutes
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
It may be possible to leave on the same day as the procedure. Your doctor may choose to keep you overnight if there are complications.
During your stay, the care center staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Recovery will take 7-14 days. After the procedure, you may have:
To help relieve some discomfort and speed recovery:
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Otolaryngology
American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
Adenoidectomy. Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
Accessed June 25, 2013.
Adenoidectomy patient information. Duke University Health System. DukeHealth.org website. Available at:
http://www.dukehealth.org/services/otolaryngology/care_guides/adenoidectomy_patient_information. Updated October 5, 2010. Accessed June 25, 2013.
All about adenoids. Kids Health.org website. Available at:
http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/adenoids.html#. Updated May 2013. Accessed June 25, 2013.
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Tonsils and adenoids. American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Available at:
Updated April 6, 2012. Accessed June 25, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
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Last reviewed June 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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