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Adenoids and Adenoidectomy

What Are Adenoids?

Adenoids are a patch of tissue that sits at the very back of the nasal passage. Like tonsils, adenoids help keep the body healthy by trapping harmful

Your health care provider will let you know if your child should stop taking any medicines in the week or two before the surgery. You'll also learn about what and when your child can eat and drink before the surgery, since the stomach must be empty on the day of the adenoidectomy.

You can help prepare your child by talking about what to expect during the adenoidectomy.

What Happens During the Adenoidectomy?

An ENT surgeon will do the surgery in an operating room. Your child will get general anesthesia. This means an anesthesiologist will carefully watch your child and keep him or her safely and comfortably asleep during the procedure.

The surgery is done through your child's open mouth — there are no cuts through the skin and no visible scars.

Can I Stay With My Child During the Adenoidectomy?

You can stay with your child until the anesthesiologist gives medicine, and then you will go to a waiting area until the surgery is over.

How Long Does an Adenoidectomy Take?

An adenoidectomy usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes, though it can take a little longer.

What Happens After the Adenoidectomy?

Your child will wake up in the recovery area. In most cases, kids can go home the same day as the procedure. Some may need to stay overnight for observation.

The typical recovery after an adenoidectomy often involves a few days of mild pain and discomfort, which may include sore throat, runny nose, noisy breathing, or bad breath.

In less than a week after surgery, everything should return to normal and the problems caused by the adenoids should be gone. There are no stitches to worry about, and the adenoid area will heal on its own.

Are There Any Risks From Adenoidectomy?

Most kids have no serious side effects or problems from an adenoidectomy. But there are risks with any surgery, including infection, bleeding, and problems with anesthesia. Talk to your child's doctor before the procedure about its risks and benefits.

How Can I Help My Child Feel Better?

  • Give your child pain medicine as directed by your health care provider.
  • Offer plenty to drink. Most children can eat and drink normally within a few hours after surgery, but you can start with soft foods like pudding, soup, gelatin, or mashed potatoes.
  • Kids should take it easy for a few days after the surgery. They should avoid nose blowing for a week after surgery, as well as any rough playing or contact sports.
  • If your child's nose is stuffy, a cool-mist humidifier might help to soothe it. Clean the humidifier daily to prevent mold growth.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Call the doctor if your child:

  • develops a fever
  • vomits after the first day or after taking medicine
  • has neck pain or neck stiffness that doesn't go away with pain medicine
  • has trouble turning the neck
  • refuses to drink
  • isn't peeing at least once every 8 hours

Get medical care right away if your child:

  • has blood dripping out of the nose or coating the tongue for more than 10 minutes
  • has bleeding after the first day
  • vomits blood or something that looks like coffee grounds

What Else Should I Know?

Even though the adenoids are part of the immune system, removing them doesn't affect a child's ability to fight infections. The immune system has many other ways to fight germs.

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