Adenoidectomy (Removal of adenoids)
An adenoidectomy is a quick operation to remove the adenoids – small lumps of tissue at the back of the nose, behind the palate.
What are adenoids?
Adenoids are part of the immune system, which helps fight infection and protects the body from bacteria and viruses. Adenoids are only present in children. They start to grow from birth and are biggest when your child is approximately three to five years old. But by age seven to eight they start to shrink and by the late teens, are barely visible. By adulthood, the adenoids will have disappeared completely. The adenoids disappear because – although they may be helpful in young children – they’re not an essential part of an adult’s immune system. You will not be able to see your child’s adenoids by looking in their mouth.
When do adenoids need removing?
It may be necessary to remove the adenoids if they become swollen or enlarged due to:
- infection with bacteria or a virus (adenoiditis) – although the infection will eventually clear up, the adenoids may remain enlarged
- allergies – allergens (substances that trigger an allergic reaction) can sometimes irritate the adenoids, making them swell up
Adenoids can also be removed to treat recurrent ear infections or glue ear.
What is an adenoidectomy?
An adenoidectomy is a quick operation to remove the adenoids. It takes about 30 minutes to perform and is carried out in hospital by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon.
In most cases your child can go home on the same day once the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off.