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4 Things to Know About Adenoid Surgery

Doctor Inspecting Child's Adenoids

Adenoids are small clumps of tissues at the back of the nose and on the roof of the mouth. These can’t be seen by simply looking at someone’s mouth, but they are part of the immune system and create antibodies to help fight infections and viruses that enter your child’s body.

Adenoids will slowly shrink and disappear as we get older, hence why only children have adenoids. By adulthood, our adenoids will have disappeared and no longer help our bodies. Adenoids are incredibly useful to children, but they’re not always beneficial and it depends on how sick they’ve been getting in their younger years.

Adenoids can often become large or swollen. This often happens after a bacterial or viral infection, or if a substance causes an allergic response. If your ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist examines your child's adenoids and decides that they need to be removed, then it’s likely because they have grown too large and will need to be removed prematurely.

To help you out, here are a couple of common things to know about adenoid surgery.

Your child’s adenoids only need to be removed in certain cases

Adenoids only need to be removed if they are causing complications to your child’s life. When they grow larger, they’ll start off by being swollen, causing mild discomfort and nothing else. No treatment is needed in this case.

However, some children may experience the following:

  • Difficulty breathing through their nose and being forced to breathe through their mouth.
  • Trouble sleeping or snoring very loudly.
  • Common ear infections or glue ear (ear filled with fluid)

If your child experiences these symptoms, then its important that you speak to an ENT to help you diagnose the issue and deal with it for good.

How your child’s adenoids are removed

Adenoid surgery is typically carried out by an ear, nose and throat surgeon and will take no longer than 30 minutes. It’s an operation performed under general anesthesia, so your child will be put to sleep while the operation is being carried out.

The procedure involves burning or scraping off the adenoids. Once removed, the bleeding will be stopped by cauterization or a pack made out of gauze can be applied to the skin in the mouth. When removed, the operation is finished.

Your child’s tonsils will likely be removed at the same time

Tonsils may also affect your child in the same way that enlarged adenoids can. In this case, your ENT will likely remove both the adenoids and tonsils in a single procedure to reduce the risk of complications.

Your child may experience some side effects after the surgery

As with all surgical procedures, there are inherent risks that need to be understood. For instance, your child may experience bright red bleeding from their mouth, fevers or intense pain that cannot be treated with painkillers. They may also experience sore throats, earaches, a blocked nose or even a slight change in voice.

Luckily, these symptoms will pass after a week or two, but if they do persist, you should contact your ENT once again and let them know.