by EBSCO Medical Review Board


Adenoidectomy is the removal of the adenoids. The adenoids are located in the back of the nose near the throat. They are thought to help with immunity against infections in children.

Anatomy of the Adenoids
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Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done to remove enlarged adenoids that cause problems. They can block the nasal passage or the opening to the sinuses or middle ear. It may help treat repeated problems with:

  • Sinus infections
  • Ear infections
  • Fluid build-up in the ear

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Regrowth of adenoid tissue
  • Vocal changes

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
  • Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as X-rays


General anesthesia is used. You will be asleep.

Description of the Procedure

The mouth will be opened and held in place with a retractor. The adenoids will be removed with a scalpel or other tool, such as an electrical current. Gauze packs will also be placed to absorb any blood.

How Long Will It Take?

About 45 minutes

Will It Hurt?

Throat pain is common in the first 1 to 2 days. Medicine and home care can help.

Average Hospital Stay

Most people can go home the same day. If there are any problems, you may need to stay overnight.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

The staff may give your child pain medicine.

At Home

It will take 7 to 14 days to fully heal. Physical activity will need to be limited during recovery. You may need to delay your return to normal activities.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
  • A sudden increase in the amount of bleeding from the mouth or nose
  • Pus coming from the nose or mouth
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Breathing problems

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians 


Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 

The College of Family Physicians of Canada 


Adenoids and adenoidectomies. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: Accessed December 2, 2020.

Adenoidectomy. Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: Accessed December 2, 2020.

Fashner J, Ericson K, et al. Treatment of the common cold in children and adults. Am Fam Physician. 2012 Jul 15;86(2):153-159.

Tonsils and adenoids. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: Accessed December 2, 2020.

Upper respiratory infection (URI) in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed December 2, 2020.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2020
  • Update Date: 04/16/2021