Adenoidectomy (child)

What are adenoids?

The adenoids are part of a group of lymphoid tissues (like the glands in the neck or the tonsils) that help to fight off infection from germs that are breathed in or swallowed. The adenoids enlarge naturally in children at around the age of three and usually shrink away again by the age of seven. Large adenoids can result in a blocked or runny nose and may make your child snore. If your child also has swollen tonsils, they may stop breathing while they are asleep. (see fig. 1)

Adenoidectomy for children

What are the benefits of an adenoidectomy?

The benefits of surgery are relief from a blocked or runny nose and, for some children, better quality of sleep. It may also improve the quality of your child’s voice and can help children suffering from glue ear by reducing the risk of fluid collecting in the middle ear.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

There are no other treatments for enlarged adenoids other than to leave them alone and wait for the problem to go away. If your child’s breathing is blocked during sleep, this can be serious and you should not put the operation off.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about twenty minutes. Your surgeon will remove the adenoids through your child’s mouth. They will place a pack in the back of the nose until the bleeding stops.

What complications can happen?

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

How soon will my child recover?

Your child should be able to go home the same day or the day after. They will need two weeks off school to avoid catching an infection that could lead to bleeding. Most children make a good recovery.

Adenoidectomy Summary

Enlarged adenoids is a common problem that usually does not need treatment. For those children who suffer a very blocked nose or disturbed sleep, an adenoidectomy should give them a better quality of life.

Paying for the operation

Adenoidectomy costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

Copyright © 2008 EIDO Healthcare Limited   The operation and treatment information on this website is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare.

The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited.

You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use.

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


Author: Miss Ruth Capper MD FRCS (ORL-HNS)

Illustrations: LifeART image copyright 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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