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Adenoidectomy: Relief from Adenoids-related Problems

By Dr. Priyanka Sinha in Paediatrics (Ped)

May 23 , 2024 | 4 min read

Adenoids are small clusters of tissue situated in the upper airway behind the nose, and play a significant role in a child's immune system, serving as defenders against inhaled pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. Adenoids typically shrink and often disappear with age, usually by the time a person reaches their teenage years. In some cases, however, adenoids may not naturally shrink or disappear with age, and can even get enlarged, causing various issues. 

What is Adenoidectomy? 

Adenoidectomy is a surgical procedure for removing adenoids, which are small masses of tissue located at the back of the throat. Performed to treat chronic infections or breathing difficulties, the procedure is typically performed on children aged 1 to 7. The best time for adenoids removal, therefore, is typically before adolescence. 

Why are Adenoids Removed?

When adenoids get enlarged, they can cause various issues, requiring their removal. Common issues

  • Obstructed breathing: Enlarged adenoids can block the airway, leading to breathing issues, snoring, and even sleep apnea, affecting the child's sleep quality and overall well-being.
  • Recurrent infections: Removal may be necessary due to chronic or frequent adenoids infections, such as recurring ear or sinus infections. Removal is prescribed when other adenoids treatments fail.
  • Hearing problems: Issues related to hearing and speech can arise from enlarged adenoids.
  • Chronic sinusitis: Adenoids enlargement may lead to persistent sinus infections. In such cases, adenoids removal may be prescribed. 
  • Frequent antibiotic use: To reduce the frequent need for antibiotics due to adenoid-linked infections, removal might be recommended.

Symptoms of Enlarged Adenoids

Symptoms of enlarged adenoids may include:

  • Sore throat: A persistent, sore throat can be a result of adenoids enlargement.
  • Difficulty swallowing: Swollen adenoids may make it challenging for a child to swallow comfortably.
  • Habitual mouth breathing: When adenoids obstruct nasal breathing, children might resort to mouth breathing, which can present its own set of issues.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: Swollen adenoids can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea, a condition involving intermittent lapses in breathing during sleep.

Benefits of Adenoids Removal

Here are some of the potential benefits of having adenoids removed:

  • Relief from respiratory obstruction: Removal of adenoids clears the airway, alleviating respiratory obstruction. 
  • Improved hearing: Chronic ear infections caused by adenoids can lead to hearing loss, which can be restored by removing them and treating the infections.
  • Relief from recurrent sinus infections: Adenoidectomy may reduce the frequency and severity of sinus problems and recurrent sinus infections.
  • Resolution of chronic rhinitis: Chronic rhinitis or post-nasal drip can sometimes be related to adenoids issues. Removing the adenoids can alleviate the symptoms.
  • Improved speech and voice quality: Adenoids enlargement can sometimes affect speech and lead to a “nasal” voice quality. Adenoidectomy can improve speech and voice clarity.
  • Alleviation of chronic tonsillitis: Sometimes, adenoids and tonsil problems are related. If a person experiences recurrent tonsillitis in addition to adenoids issues, a combined adenotonsillectomy (removal of both adenoids and tonsils) may be recommended.

Risks of Adenoidectomy

Potential adenoids operation risks and complications post adenoidectomy surgery include:

  • Infection: Though rare, post-operative infections are possible.
  • Mild pain: Post-surgery, some patients may experience minor discomfort.
  • Reaction to anaesthesia: There's always a minimal risk associated with anaesthesia.
  • Permanent changes in vocal quality: Some patients might notice lasting changes in their voice after the surgery, though this is uncommon.
  • Failure to address underlying issues: Adenoidectomy might not resolve all pre-existing conditions such as breathing difficulties or nasal drainage in certain instances.
  • Adenoids regrowth: Adenoids are deeply situated within the nasal passage, making their complete removal challenging. On rare occasions, they might regrow; if they continue to pose problems, a secondary surgery might be needed.

Recovery after Adenoidectomy 

Adenoidectomy is a common surgical procedure for children, and the recovery process can vary from one child to another. Here are some general guidelines on what to expect during the recovery period:

Immediate postoperative period

After the surgery, the child will be taken to a recovery area, where medical staff will monitor their condition. It's common for children to feel dizzy or disoriented upon waking from anaesthesia. Some may also experience a sore throat, mild discomfort, and possibly nausea.

Pain management

The child may be prescribed pain medication to manage any discomfort. It's crucial to follow the dosing instructions provided by the healthcare provider.

Diet and fluids

Parents or caregivers should encourage the child to drink fluids to stay hydrated. Cold or room-temperature liquids can be soothing. Additionally, soft, cool, and non-acidic foods such as yoghurt, ice cream, and popsicles can be easier on the throat. It's essential to avoid hot, spicy, or acidic foods that could irritate the surgical site.

Rest and activity

Rest is essential for a smooth recovery process. Parents or caregivers should encourage the child to take it easy for the first few days. Strenuous physical activities should be avoided for at least a week. Keeping the child's head elevated during sleep can help reduce swelling and discomfort.

Breathing and nasal care

Some children may experience nasal congestion after the surgery. Saline nasal drops can help relieve this congestion. Parents or caregivers should make certain that the child does not blow their nose, which can increase pressure in the nasal passages.

Follow-up appointments

Parents or caregivers should ensure they attend all scheduled post-operative follow-up appointments with the child's surgeon. These appointments are essential to monitor the healing process and address any concerns or complications that may arise.

Final Words

Adenoidectomy is a common and highly successful procedure that can significantly enhance the quality of life for children suffering from chronic adenoid-related problems. While all surgeries have risks, the benefits of adenoidectomy often outweigh potential complications. If you or your child has been experiencing persistent adenoid-related issues, it's imperative to seek professional guidance and treatment. Max Hospitals, with a team of adenoids specialists and state-of-the-art facilities, is equipped to provide relief from adenoid-related problems. Take the first step towards a healthier, happier future by consulting with one of our specialists, who can tailor a personalised treatment plan, paving the way for a life free from the burdens of adenoid-related troubles.