Adenoids are tonsil-like lymphoid tissue located behind the nose.

The Eustachian tube opens near the adenoids.  If adenoids are enlarged or chronically infected they can block this opening or be a source of infection travelling up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear.  The result may be recurrent ear infections.

If the adenoids are enlarged or chronically infected, they can also block the back of the nose, leading to nasal obstruction, mouth breathing, chronic nasal discharge, snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Removal is indicated to relieve nasal obstruction, snoring, sinusitis and ear infections.

NOTE: adenoids usually shrink in size as children grow older: adenoid removal is less commonly done in patients over the age of 8 years.


  • Adenoid removal is always under general anaesthetic
  • Removal is done with an instrument passed through the mouth
  • It is usually a day case procedure


-Quiet activity for a few days – about 1 – 2 days off school

-Mild pain – relieved with Paracetamol

-A blocked nose may persist for immediately after surgery- this will clear over 1-2 weeks



-Bleeding –this is a rare complication. If it does occur, it is usually mild and controlled with Otrivine nose drops. Contact me if lasts for more than 10 minutes or if bleeding is heavy, i.e. with blood clots.

-Occasionally there can be re-growth after removal (usually when removed at a young age- <18 months).

-Altered speech – mild, usually settles.  Very rarely, a congenital weakness of the soft palate may become apparent after adenoidectomy, causing ‘cleft palate’ like speech and nasal regurgitation of swallowed fluids.

-Damage to teeth may occur (rarely).  Please draw attention to caps on the front teeth.




Adenoidectomy in children, either alone or in combination with a tonsillectomy or grommet insertion, may be extremely beneficial in treating nasal obstructive symptoms and middle ear problems.





If your child has a persistently blocked nose, is a mouth breather, and/or snores, he/she may have enlarged adenoids.

Please call 031 201 3118 or 031 581 2534 for an appointment. A full history will be taken, a complete ear, nose and throat examination will be performed, and if necessary, X-Rays will be requested.

Thereafter, a decision regarding the need for adenoidectomy will be taken in keeping with best ENT specialist practice guidelines.




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