Adenoids are a patch of tissue that sits at the very back of the nasal passage. Adenoids help keep the body healthy by trapping bacteria and viruses that enter our bodies through breathing or swallowing. Adenoids help fight infections for infants and young children but become less important as children grow and develop other ways to fight germs. Adenoids usually begin to shrink after about 5 years of age and often practically disappear by teen years.
Signs and symptoms of enlarged adenoids may include:
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
Breathing through the mouth
Frequent or chronic ear infections
Frequent or chronic sinus infections
Adenoids can swell up or become enlarged when fighting infections. Allergies can also cause them to enlarge. The swelling normally gets better on its own, but if it happens frequently, a healthcare provider may prescribe medication or recommend the adenoids be removed.
An adenoidectomy is the surgical removal of the adenoids. It is one of the most common surgical procedures done one children, along with the removal of tonsils.
An adenoidectomy is performed in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia. The surgery is done through the child’s open mouth with no cuts through the skin and no scars. The procedure usually takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Most children can go home the same day as the procedure.
The typical recovery takes 10 – 14 days of mild discomfort and pain which may include sore throat, runny nose, noisy breathing and bad breath.
Not all treatments, tests and services are available at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Check with your preferred location in advance.