Adenoidectomy in Children

What are Adenoids?

The Adenoid is a collection of lymphoid tissue on the back wall of the space behind the nasal cavity. They are a normal finding in children but generally disappear in the second decade of life.

Indications for Surgery - Adenoidectomy

Frequently the adenoids are removed when the tonsils are removed, please see Adenotonsillectomy in children. Sometimes adenoidectomy alone is recommended, for example;

  • Persistent nasal obstruction
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Persistent nasal discharge
  • Snoring in the presence of small or absent tonsils

The Operation

Adenoidectomy is performed in hospital under general anaesthesia. 

The adenoid is removed via the mouth using a curette to gently lift the adenoid from its bed. Bleeding is controlled with a temporary small gauze pack, which is then removed at the end of the procedure. The operation is not considered complete until there is no bleeding.

The Recovery

The First Night

All children will be kept in hospital for a minimum of six hours after they return to the ward. Younger children and those that live in rural areas will need to stay overnight. All will have intravenous access for fluids and anti-nausea and vomiting medication. Most will be able to have dinner but some children will not feel like it.

Discharge from Hospital

Before discharge home they must be tolerating a normal diet and consuming adequate fluids. I don't sent children home until they are ready.


A normal diet is all that is required. Sore throat following adenoidectomy is minimal and the overwhelming majority of children eat without any difficulty.


For one week post operatively the child needs to be kept calm and quiet in the care of a responsible carer. During this time they should not go to school and avoid excessive activity such as parties, playgrounds etc.

Pain Relief

Pain following adenoidectomy is minor. Paracetamol is adequate but often not required.

Codeine containing pain relief medication must not be used, as it can be dangerous in children.

Nurofen likewise should not be used.


Bleeding after adenoidectomy is extremely rare beyond the first few hours. However it is important you contact me if you notice any significant bleeding.

Postoperative Instructions

You will be given instructions for care upon discharge. These are also available to download here. At discharge you will also be given a post-operative appointment and my mobile phone number.