Minas N. Artopoulos M.D.
Otorhinolaryngologist, Head & Neck Surgeon
Director of Neck-Thyroid Division at the MITERA Otorhinolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery Department
The adenoids are a mass of lymphoid tissue located behind the nasal passages. Infected adenoids may become enlarged or chronically infected, and subsequently lead to obstructed breathing, snoring/sleep apnea, sinus or ear infections, or other problems. Adenoidectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the adenoids.
These instructions are designed to help your child (and you) recover from the adenoidectomy as easily as possible. Taking care of your child can prevent complications. Your doctor will be happy to answer any questions that you have regarding this material.
What are risks and complications of adenoidectomy?
Your child’s surgery will be performed safely and with care in order to obtain the best possible results. You have the right to be informed that the surgery may involve risks of unsuccessful results, complications, or injury from both known and unforeseen causes. Because individuals differ in their response to surgery, their anesthetic reactions, and their healing outcomes, ultimately there can be no guarantee made as to the results or potential complications.
The following complications have been reported in the medical literature. This list is not meant to be inclusive of every possible complication. They are listed here for your information only, not to frighten you, but to make you aware and more knowledgeable concerning this surgical procedure.
Failure to resolve the ear or sinus infections, or relieve nasal drainage.
Bleeding. In very rare situations, the need for blood products or a blood transfusion. You have the right, should you choose, to have autologous (blood from yourself) or designated donor directed blood prepared in advance in case an emergency transfusion is necessary. You are encouraged to consult with your doctor if you are interested.
A permanent change in voice or nasal regurgitation (rare).
Need for further and more aggressive surgery such as sinus, nasal, or tonsil surgery.
Failure to improve the nasal airway or resolve snoring, sleep apnea, or mouth breathing.
Need for allergy evaluation, treatments, or environmental controls. Surgery is neither a cure nor a substitute for good allergy control or treatment.
In most situations, the surgery is performed as an outpatient at either the hospital or the surgicenter. In both facilities, quality care is provided without the expense and inconvenience of an overnight stay. An anesthesiologist will monitor your child throughout the procedure. Usually, the anesthesiologist will call the night before surgery to review the medical history. If he/she is unable to reach you the night before surgery, he/she will talk with you that morning. If your doctor has ordered preoperative laboratory studies, you should arrange to have these done several days in advance.
Your child should not take aspirin, or any product containing aspirin, within 10 days of the date of your surgery. Many over-the-counter products contain aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory type drugs, so it is important to check all medications carefully. If there is any question, please call your doctor’s office or consult your pharmacist. Acetaminophen/Tylenol is an acceptable pain reliever. Often, your doctor will give you several prescriptions for post-operative pain at the visit BEFORE the operation. It is best to have these filled prior to the date of your surgery.
It is advised that you be honest and up front with your child as you explain his/her upcoming surgery. Encourage your child to think of this as something the doctor will do to made them healthier. Let them know that they will be safe and that you will be close by. A calming and reassuring attitude will greatly ease your child’s anxiety. You can assure them that most children have minimal pain following an adenoidectomy. Let them know that if they do have pain, it will only be for a short time.