tonsillectomy header



Information about this procedure is listed under the following headings:


Why do I need this operation?

What are the intended benefits of the surgery?

How is the surgery performed?

What are the potential risks and how great are these risks?

What am I to expect after the operation?

How long will I be off work/school?

Frequently asked Questions





Why do I need this operation?

The adenoids are comprised of a pad of tissue at the back of the throat, above and behind the soft palate (see drawing). They help to fight infection, but can get infected themselves, or cause obstruction and end up causing more problems than they solve. Adenoids usually shrink around the ages 7-9, but may persist longer.
Enlarged adenoids may cause the following:
1) Nasal bockage, mouth breathing and denasal speech.
2) Snoring
3) Obstructive sleep apnoea (In conjunction with large tonsils)
4) Glue ear - enlarged adenoids may play a role in blocking the eustachian tube and are associated with glue ear. They may be removed at the same time as grommets are inserted.



What are the intended benefits of the surgery?

Reduction of symptoms caused by obstruction
Help resolution of glue ear


How is the surgery performed?

The mouth is opened in a similar way as during a tonsillectomy and the adenoids are 'scraped out' using a curette.



What are the potential risks?

Bleeding in less than 1% of patients.



What am I to expect after the operation?

The pain after adenoidectomy is less than for a tonsillectomy - a little less that a sore throat. There may be some bloody discharge from the nose for a few hours after the operation. An overnight stay is usually unnecessary



How long will I be off work / school?

A week to ten days. A doctor's note will be provided.



Frequently asked Questions

Will removing the adenoids leave the patient vunerable to infection?

There is no evidence to show that there is any damage to the immune system following adenoidectomy.

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Last updated: 23 October 2004