Published: Feb. 19, 2010
Updated: Oct. 5, 2010
Adenoidectomy is the removal of adenoids, often performed to resolve breathing obstructions, throat infections, and recurrent childhood ear disease.
Adenoidectomy is a safe and common throat operation. However, as with all surgical procedures, there are some risks associated with it.
In rare cases, significant postoperative bleeding may occur. Bleeding usually happens in the first 24 hours after surgery and is short lived. Most bleeding is treated as an outpatient.
Sustained bleeding may need to be treated in the operating room under general anesthesia and in rare cases, a blood transfusion may be recommended. Though anesthetic complications exist, they are uncommon.
The adenoids are removed through the mouth. Using a mirror, we can see the back of the nose through the open mouth. Methods of removal include electrocautery, coblation, or microdebrider removal.
Bleeding is controlled by thermal sealing of the blood vessels, usually at the same time. Adenoidectomy is sometimes performed in conjunction with a tonsillectomy.
Yes, for a few days after surgery the throat can be sore, but not nearly as sore as when we remove the tonsils.
Swallowing will be painful after surgery, which can lead to poor oral intake of fluids and dehydration. Sometimes dehydration requires fluid replacement through an IV.
In addition to the sore throat, ear or neck pain may be present. Ear pain is quite common and is called “referred pain.” The ears are not usually infected, but the nerves that transmit pain sensations from the adenoid area also transmit pain from the ears, causing the pain to feel like it is in the ears.
Neck pain may be from the position in the operating room, but it should be reported to the doctor’s office if you or your child has any trouble turning the head.
We recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the pain. Your doctor may give you a prescription pain medicine to take for the first few days after surgery as well.
An ice pack on the neck may also help. Most importantly, taking in plenty of fluids and regularly using the pain medication for the first few days will make it easier to recover.
Report any bleeding immediately. Bleeding usually happens between seven and 10 days after surgery when the wet scabs in the back of the throat are sloughing off. Ninety-eight percent of the time this is a brief bleed that is not significant.
Call your doctor's office if you experience any of the following: