Adenoid surgery

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After the surgery

Your child will be taken to a recovery area to be watched carefully as they wake up from the anaesthetic. They will be away from the ward for about an hour.

  • Some children feel sick after the operation. This settles quickly. Sometimes, anti-sickness medication is needed.
  • Your child’s nose may be blocked after the surgery, but this will clear up on its own in a week or so.
  • You may notice that your child has bad breath during the healing period. In rare cases, antibiotics may be needed.

Your child’s throat may be a bit sore:

  • Give your child painkillers as needed for the first few days
  • Do not use more than it says on the label
  • Do not give your child aspirin – it could make your child bleed. Aspirin is not safe to give to children younger than 16 years old at any time, unless prescribed by a doctor
  • Prepare normal food. Eating will help your child’s throat to heal
  • Chewing gum may also help the pain

Your child may have sore ears:

This is normal. It happens because your throat and ears have the same nerves. It does not usually mean that your child has an ear infection.

Your child may also feel tired for the first few days, this is normal.

When can my child go home?

Children who are fit and well with no bleeding or bruising problems can usually go home on the same day as the surgery takes place. Doctors will usually keep an eye on them for between four and six hours to make sure they are ready.

If there are any complications during or after surgery, your child may be kept in hospital overnight or longer.

Either way, your child will only be able to go home when they are eating and drinking and feels well enough.

When can my child go to school?

Most children need no more than a week off nursery or school. They should rest at home away from crowds and smoky places. Stay away from people with coughs and colds.


 Your child’s surgeon will inform you if an outpatient clinic follow-up is needed.

 What are the risks

 Bleeding: The most serious problem is bleeding, which may need a second operation to stop it. However, bleeding after adenoidectomy is very uncommon and seems to happen in one out of every two hundred operations. It is very important to let us know well before the operation if anyone in the family has a bleeding problem.

Bleeding can be serious. If you notice any bleeding from your child’s throat, you must see a doctor as soon as possible. Either call your GP, call the ward, or go to your nearest hospital emergency department to have it checked out.

Dental damage: During the operation, there is a very small chance that a tooth may be chipped or knocked out, especially if it is loose, capped or crowned. Please let us know if your child has any teeth like this.

Nasal regurgitation: A very rare complication of adenoid surgery is that fluids may leak through the nose during drinking. This is known as nasal regurgitation. Even if this happens, it usually settles by itself. A lot of leaking through the nose can happen when there is a weakness at the back of the roof of the mouth (the palate). Your doctor will examine your child to reduce this risk before surgery. If a weakness is found in the roof of the mouth, such as bifid uvula or a submucosal cleft palate, then your child will have a limited version of the operation.

Voice change: A small number of children find that their voice sounds different after the surgery. It may sound like they are talking through their nose. This usually settles down by itself within a few weeks. If not, speech therapy is helpful.

Regrowth of the adenoids: Adenoids can grow back, but this is uncommon.

Further Information

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