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Adenoid removal - series


Normal anatomy

The adenoids (lymphatic tissue in the back of the throat), along with the tonsils, comprise the Waldeyer ring.

Normal anatomy

Adenoidectomy may be recommended when enlarged adenoids are blocking the airway, which may be suspected if the child:

  • snores excessively
  • has trouble breathing through the nose (nasal obstruction)
  • has episodes of not breathing during sleep (sleep apnea)

Adenoidectomy may be recommended if the child has chronic ear infections that:

  • interfere with child's education
  • persist despite antibiotic treatment
  • recur 5 or more times in a year
  • recur 3 or more times a year during a 2-year period

Adenoidectomy may be recommended if the child has chronic or repeated bouts of tonsillitis.

The adenoids normally shrink as the child reaches adolescence and adenoidectomy is rarely needed after reaching the teenage years.


While the child is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), a breathing tube is inserted into the child's mouth and throat. A small instrument is inserted into the mouth to prop it open. The adenoid tissue is removed and bleeding is controlled.


Adenoidectomy is usually done as an outpatient procedure. Complete recovery takes 1 to 2 weeks. While healing, the child may have a stuffy nose, nasal drainage, and a sore throat. Soft, cool foods and drinks may help relieve throat discomfort.


Review Date: 1/26/2009
Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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