What are adenoids?
Adenoids are special glands that help to fight off infections. They are found at the back of the nasal airways, just above the throat.
Why would the adenoids need removal?
Adenoidectomy is usually performed in children. The most common reason is that the adenoids have enlarged, which can cause a blocked or runny nose, snoring and poor sleep. If the tonsils are also swollen then breathing can potentially stop when asleep. Removing the adenoids should help with these problems.
Adenoidectomy may also help children that suffer from glue ear, by reducing the risk of fluid collecting in the middle ear.
Why do adenoids become enlarged?
Adenoids enlarge naturally in children at the age of three, and usually shrink back again by the age of seven. In some children, this enlargement does not cause any problems, in others it can cause the above symptoms. If the symptoms are very severe or problematic, though, then removal of the adenoids may be required.
How are the adenoids removed?
The operation is performed under general anaesthetic. The specialist removes the adenoids through the child's mouth, so no skin cuts are needed. A pack is placed in the back of the nose to help stop any bleeding. The operation takes about twenty minutes to perform.
What are the risks of adenoid removal?
- Bleeding and infection - if bleeding does not stop at the time of the operation, then the packs may need to be left in place for a day or two. Bleeding may also occur up to two weeks after the surgery, and may be the result of infection. This is uncommon (1 in 100 risk), and can be treated with antibiotics; if the bleeding is heavy, though, another operation may be needed
Other SurgeryWise articles
You may also be interested to read our articles on Tonsillectomy or grommets/glue ear
Any procedure involving incisions can result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist. Whilst these risks will seem very worrysome, and indeed can be serious, it should also be borne in mind that many people have no postoperative problems whatsoever.
The information provided is as a guide only and you should discuss matters fully with your specialist before deciding if this is the right procedure for you. Please also read our disclaimer