What is adenoidectomy?
Adenoidectomy is the surgical removal of adenoids. The adenoids are mounds of lymphatic tissue that sit behind the nose and above the throat. They are part of the body’s system to fight infection and are only important during the first few years of life. This surgery is normally performed as a one-day case. The patient will be admitted for 1- 2 days to undergo adenoidectomy. It is performed under a general anaesthesia, which means the patient will be asleep for the entire operation.
B. Reasons & benefits for adenoidectomy
Removal of the adenoids is usually recommended in cases where one has recurrent episodes of infections of the adenoids, swollen adenoids that cause one to snore and swollen adenoids that make it harder to breathe or swallow or sore throats that often interrupt your everyday life.
C. Risks of adenoidectomy
As with all surgical procedures, adenoidectomy is not risk free. Complications arising from general anesthesia may occur (see separate brochure). Bleeding of the surgical site may also occur. A sore throat or difficulty in swallowing may occur for up to 2 weeks after the surgery. Teeth damage may also occur as a result of the procedure. There is also a risk of death with any operation even though the risk is extremely small for adenoidectomy.
D. Preparation adenoidectomy
Detailed pre-surgical assessment will be carried out so as to ensure that one is fit for surgery and to minimize the complications that may occur. This involves blood tests and general health checks. Blood grouping will also be done so as to have blood on standby for transfusion in case excessive bleeding occurs during the surgery.
E. What happens after adenoidectomy?
One may feel tired due to the general anesthesia. Pain will occur after one is fully awake. This will be managed by pain medication. Ear pain may occur for 2-3 days after the surgery. Complete healing occurs in 10-14 days. It is normal to spit small amounts of blood stained saliva. It is also normal to have some small amounts of blood stained mucus.
Normal eating and drinking can be done a day after the surgery. A balanced diet with plenty of fluids is helpful in healing and preventing infection. You may leave the hospital once you are fully awake and are able to eat and drink. Follow up appointment may be planned before leaving hospital.
F. What to look out for at home
The hospital or the doctor should be contacted in case any of the following occurs:
- A high temperature (38ºC or above)
- Difficulty taking fluids or eating
- Or the painkillers are not controlling the pain.
One should see a doctor immediately in case there is bright red, black or brown vomit spitting out bright red blood or large clots; or difficulty breathing. It is okay to seek advice from the doctor/ hospital for any other problem one may be experiencing.
Spitting of small amounts of red colored saliva is normal. Pain may persist for a few days. This can be eased by taking pain relief medication. Small changes to the tone of the patient voice may occur.
G. Risks of not undergoing adenoidectomy
Adenoidectomy is usually recommended as a solution to other illnesses such as persistent snoring, recurrent throat infections and breathing problems. Without adenoidectomy such illnesses will most likely recur thus affecting the quality of one’s health and causing other complications such as heart disease.
H. Alternatives to adenoidectomy
In case one chooses not to undergo adenoidectomy, symptomatic treatment of the underlying illness will be done. This mainly involves antibiotics and pain medication.
I. Consent for adenoidectomy
By giving consent you are giving authorization for the patient to undergo adenoidectomy after understanding the need, risks and benefits of the procedure. You are encouraged to ask and have your questions answered before consenting. Although due professional care will be taken, no guarantee has been made regarding the outcomes.
By refusing to consent you signify that although a request for your consent has been made and all explanations given, you have made an informed choice not to undergo adenoidectomy and therefore absolve the doctor and hospital of any liability with regard to the outcomes.
K. Can I ask a question?
It is ok to ask questions relating to the procedure and its outcomes at any time. You may ask any member of the team taking care of you for any clarification you need. Should they deem it fit, they may consult other team members so that the best possible answers to your questions are availed. You can also request for a second opinion should you feel like having one.