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Adenoid removal (Child)

This page will provide you with information about an adenoidectomy. For further details, you should speak to your GP or other relevant health professional.

What are adenoids?

The adenoids are masses of lymphatic tissue that help to fight infection from germs that enter the mouth (see figure 1). 

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It is possible for the adenoids to enlarge naturally in children and this typically happens when the child is 3 years old. In most cases, the adenoids would shrink away by the time they reach seven years of age. If your child has enlarged adenoids they may snore in their sleep, and/or have a runny or blocked nose on a regular basis. If your child’s tonsils are also swollen then it is possible for them to stop breathing while they are sleeping.

What are the advantages of this procedure?

After undergoing surgery, many children will be relieved of their blocked or runny nose. Many children also find that their quality of sleep has improved. Surgery can also help to improve your child’s voice quality and it can aid glue ear infections by limiting the risk of fluid collecting in the ear.

What are the alternatives?

Steroid nasal sprays are sometimes used to cure the symptoms of a blocked nose and decrease the size of the adenoids. However, the long-term impact of steroid nasal sprays are not known and they will have to be used for a long period of time before you see the effects. There are no other solutions, apart from leaving the enlarged adenoids alone and waiting until to problem eases.

What does the procedure entail?

The surgeon will operate through your child’s mouth in order to remove the enlarged adenoids. A pack is placed at the back of the nose in order to prevent any bleeding. This process typically takes around 20 minutes and your child will be given general anaesthetic for the procedure.

What are the possible risks?

Complications associated with this procedure include pain, bleeding and infection. It is also possible for the adenoid tissue to regrow after it has been removed.

How quickly will my child recover?

In most cases, your child will be able to return home the same day as their operation, although some stay overnight. It is advised that your child stays home from school for two weeks following their procedure to avoid infection, which could lead to bleeding.

Summary

Enlarged adenoids are a common issue and in most cases, it does not need treatment. However, if your child is struggling to sleep or regularly suffers from blocked noses, then an adenoidectomy can help put an end to their symptoms. The majority of children make a good recovery from this procedure. 

 

References: EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

 

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