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 problems by blocking the nasal passage, or the opening to the sinuses or middle ear. It may be used to treat long-term sinus infections and recurrent ear infections or chronic ear fluid.
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 for at least 8 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:
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Adenoidectomy. Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
Accessed May 4, 2016.
All about adenoids. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/adenoids.html. Updated May 2013. Accessed May 4, 2016.
Gigante J. Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
Pediatr Rev. 2005;26(6):199-203.
Shehata EM, Ragab SM, et al. Telescopic-assisted radiofrequency adenoidectomy: a prospective randomized controlled trial.
Tonsils and adenoids. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
Updated April 6, 2012. Accessed May 4, 2016.
6/3/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
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