Adenoidectomy is an operation performed to remove one's adenoids. Most of the time, adenoidectomy is done to children. Although rare, the procedure can be done to adults as well.
When do adenoids need to be removed?
Due to bacteria, viruses, or allergic reactions, your child might have enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Usually, they only cause a mere discomfort and do not need treatment at all. However, children might need an adenoidectomy if they have:
- Breathing problems - If your child is unable to breathe through his or her nose and uses his or her mouth instead.
- Difficulty in sleeping - If your child cannot sleep peacefully, snoring loud, or experiencing sleep apnea.
- Persistent ear infections - Several ear infections can be caused by enlarged adenoids. The enlarged adenoids can block the Eustachian tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of one's nose.
- Persistent sinusitis - You may notice that your child's speech comes out with nasal sounds, such as a whiz, or even notice a persistent runny nose.
Things to Know Before Having an Adenoidectomy
- Adenoids are mostly found in children.
- They are found inside the upper back part of a child's mouth.
- Adenoids produce white blood cells that help the body fight against diseases.
- Adenoids can also be infected as they perform their function.
- When adenoids are infected and enlarged, the condition is called adenoiditis.
- Adenoiditis has symptoms that can be easily identified by a doctor through a regular physical examination.
- If adenoiditis is causing trouble to a child, the adenoids can be removed through an operation known as adenoidectomy.
- The procedure is carried out by a specialist, who is qualified in handling ear, throat, and nasal problems.
- An adenoidectomy usually takes about 45 minutes to one hour.
- Your doctor will ask you to stay at the clinic for a while longer after the surgery.
Before the Operation
If in case your child had a cold or even a sore throat within seven days before the procedure, you need to inform the doctor.
If in case your child has a fever or has a cough, your doctor may postpone the operation for around 10 to 14 days until the child has recovered. Delaying the surgery ensures that the risks associated with the operation will be as minimal as possible.
Risks and Complications That You Should Expect After an Adenoid Surgery
It is important that you and your child's doctor discuss the risks associated with adenoidectomy before initiating the surgery. Remember, surgical procedures must be taken seriously. The following are a list of risks that can be associated with adenoidectomy:
- After the removal of one's adenoids, some patients do not successfully do away with loud snoring and sleep apnea.
- In very rare cases, an adenoidectomy has led to a permanent change in the patient's voice.
- The operation may pave a way for a series of infections in the tonsils, nose, or ears.
- The operation may fail to treat some ear infections.
How to Physically Prepare a Patient for an Adenoidectomy
Having an adenoidectomy does not require your child to be admitted to a hospital. Your doctor will examine your child's current and past medical history. There are several things you should always have in mind before undergoing an adenoidectomy, and they include:
- For up to 10 days until the operation, any type of drug with aspirin content should not be taken.
- Six hours before the operation, make sure not to consume anything, which includes water, fluids, or even a chewing gum.
- In case your child has any prescribed medications, you should inform your doctor immediately.
- Painkillers such as acetaminophen or Tylenol are not recommended as they may hinder one's preparation for an adenoidectomy.
- You should set an appointment for the doctor to see all your child's medical records. Have them ready at least a day before the surgery so you will not forget any of them.
How to Mentally Prepare a Patient for the Procedure
It is vital that you talk positively to your child. The child must be assured that you, the parent or guardian, will be there for them during the surgery. You should also ensure that they won't panic when they experience some post-surgery pain. Reassure them that it will go away as soon as they heal.
Eating and Drinking
Eating should not be a problem around six hours after the surgery. Fluids are easier to take. Therefore, your child can immediately start drinking fluids after the surgery.
Since your child would be prone to dehydration, you will need to make them have as many fluids as possible. Letting them drink plenty of water is healthy and very helpful. You can give your child painkillers an hour or so before meals to help them cut down the pain when eating.
Returning to School
Returning to school would take several days, since after the surgery, your child needs rest. Again, having enough rest will ensure that the risk of developing infections is minimal.
To ensure that your child is safe against colds and coughs, you might need to keep your child from school for a while. The safety of your child should come first. Moreover, your child should avoid swimming for at least 20 days after the surgery.
A Parent’s/Guardian’s Role During Surgery
You should make sure that you psychologically and physically prepare your child so they are calm during the surgery. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
- Ensure that your child’s important details are known to the doctor, and the doctor records the weight and blood pressure of your child.
- You should discuss the procedure with the doctor prior to the day of surgery. Ask all relevant questions, so that the doctor can suggest some things on how to deal with your concerns.
- You can help if your child is asked to change clothes in the hospital. Some children are not comfortable changing clothes if their parent or guardian is not around.
- Before the surgery, the anesthesiologist would sometimes need to talk to your child in person, and your presence will be a great source of encouragement to your child.
- You may also allow the child to bring in a stuffed toy to comfort them during or after the surgery.
Care at Home
- Two weeks after the surgery, family members or friends who are sick should stay away from your child to avoid possible transmission of certain diseases. Remember that after the surgery, your child is vulnerable to infections.
- You are supposed to give a report to your doctor in order to monitor your child’s recovery.
- Take note of your child’s voice, and if there are notable changes even after 14 days, discuss it with your doctor to see if your child is safe or not.
- You should ensure that your child does not engage in heavy sports activities in school. Going to school should resume as soon as the child can eat normally again.
- Make sure that you contact your healthcare provider in case you notice anything unusual in your child.