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Adenoids are specialized lymph tissue and are located in the back of the nose, above the mouth. By acting as a filter, the adenoids remove bacteria from the air we breathe and help the body defend itself against infection and disease.

On occasion, the adenoids can begin to malfunction. When this occurs, the adenoids frequently swell and obstruct breathing through the nose. Chronic mouth breathing is often a complaint of enlarged adenoids; as are frequent infections, infected or pus-like nasal drainage, and taking frequent pauses during eating to get a breath of air. When any of these symptoms occur, it may be necessary for your child to have adenoid surgery, referred to as adenoidectomy.

Adenoidectomy patients may experience the following symptoms post-surgery:

Discomfort: This is usually minimal. Plain acetaminophen works well. Be sure to avoid aspirin-containing products and ibuprofen, since they can cause bleeding.

Nausea: This is also usually minimal. Should this occur, the physician can prescribe a medication to help alleviate the symptoms.

Bleeding/Drainage: Occasionally there is a small amount of blood noted around the nostrils when returning from the recovery room. Should bleeding like a constant drip occur (that doesn't stop with rest or quiet activity), be sure to contact your physician.

Dismissal: Most adenoidectomy patients ready to be dismissed 2 – 6 hours after their surgery, provided they are drinking fluids and are not nauseated.

Adenoidectomy Recovery

  • No vigorous activity for one week following surgery.
  • No vigorous nose blowing for at least one week, as it may cause bleeding
  • The patient should be able to return to school/day care/work the following day.
  • Encourage fluids. Water, soft drinks, juice, and popsicles are good choices. May have a regular diet as desired.

Follow-up appointment: This will be scheduled with the physician for 1 – 2 weeks after adenoids surgery discharge.

Ear, Nose and Throat