Diseases & Conditions

Adenoidectomy - Adenoid Removal


Overview & Description

This procedure involves surgically removing the adenoid glands from the nasopharynx, which is the area between the nasal airway and back of the throat. It is usually performed with a tonsillectomy, or surgical removal of the tonsils.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

This surgery may be recommended for persons with:

  • enlarged adenoids, or adenoidal hypertrophy
  • excessive snoring
  • difficulty breathing through the nose
  • a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea, which causes episodes of not breathing during sleep
  • chronic ear infections, known as chronic otitis media
  • chronic or repeated tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils
  • chronic sinusitis
  • How is the procedure performed?

    The surgery is performed using general anesthesia. This involves putting the person to sleep with medications. A breathing tube, known as an endotracheal tube, is inserted into the mouth and throat. Then the adenoid tissue is removed, and bleeding is controlled with pressure. The entire procedure takes about a half-hour.


    Preparation & Expectations

    What happens right after the procedure?

    After the surgery, the person will be taken to the surgery recovery room. There the person is watched closely for a short time. Vital signs, blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are checked frequently. A person will be monitored closely for bleeding as well. Intravenous (IV) fluids are given until the person is able to drink liquids by mouth. There is usually mild discomfort. This can be relieved by medication injected into the IV. If there is no excessive bleeding and the person is able to drink liquids, they are usually discharged home the same day.


    Home Care and Complications

    What happens later at home?

    After surgery, the person should rest for a few days. The throat may be sore. Over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen may be given to relieve the pain. Aspirin should be avoided because it can cause bleeding. Ice-cold fluids are given initially, and the diet is advanced as the person can tolerate. Hard, scratchy foods should be avoided until the throat is healed. An ice pack to go around the neck may also relieve discomfort.

    What are the potential complications after the procedure?

    Infection and bleeding may occur after surgery. Blood-tinged saliva is normal for a day or two. However, if bleeding begins, it should be reported to the surgeon immediately. The healthcare provider should also be contacted for any signs of infection, such as fever or increased pain.


    Attribution

    Author:Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Written:
    Editor:Planko, Christa, MA
    Edit Date:05/23/00
    Reviewer:Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed:05/01/01

    Sources

    Griffith, H. Winter. Instructions for Patients. Philadelphia:W.B. Saunders company,1994.