What is the adenoid?

The adenoid is a lymphoid structure which is similar to the tonsils and sits at the back of the nose. It usually shrinks and disappears about the age of 12 but occasionally persists into adulthood.

What are the indications for adenoidectomy?

  • Nasal obstruction.
  • Snoring.
  • Frequent or persistent nasal infections or sinusitis.
  • Middle ear disease (ear infections or glue ear).

The procedure may be performed alone or in conjunction with other procedures such as tonsillectomy, grommet insertion or turbinate reduction.

How is surgery performed?

Surgery is performed under general anaesthetic, usually as a day surgery procedure. We access the adenoid through the mouth using a mirror for visualisation. The adenoid is removed using a suction diathermy device.

What to expect after surgery

Pain isn’t usually severe – paracetamol and ibuprofen are usually sufficient for pain relief.

Patients can usually resume usual activities and return to school or day care after a day or two.

Bad breath is common after surgery and resolves after 1-2 weeks.

Risks of surgery

The risk of significant bleeding is very low, around 1 in 1000.

Leakage of fluid with swallowing or air with speaking is very rare, and if it does occur will usually resolve spontaneously over 1-2 months.

There is a small risk of injury to lips, teeth, tongue or jaw joint from the device that holds the mouth open, but the risk of significant injury is extremely low unless there are already problems with the teeth.