A child’s adenoidectomy is an operation to remove the adenoids, which are lymphoid tissues located at the top of the throat behind the nose. The procedure is done when an infection is present or if there is significant airway swelling or obstruction. It can help relieve a child’s symptoms and improve their breathing and quality of sleep. Knowing what to expect after your child’s adenoidectomy will make recovery easier for both parent and child.

When is adenoid removal needed?

Adenoid removal may be needed when a child has:

  • Chronic infections of the throat and/or ears
  • Obstructed airways
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Snoring problems or sleep apnea
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Frequent colds or persistent allergies

An adenoidectomy procedure can also be used to help improve hearing in children with chronic ear infections. The decision to remove the adenoids should be based on your child’s overall health and the information your doctor provides about potential benefits and risks. Consult with a board-certified surgeon to discuss the procedure and aftercare expectations.

Adenoidectomy recovery timeline for children

After the adenoidectomy procedure, your child will be monitored in the recovery room until they are ready to be discharged. This typically takes a few hours, and your child may experience some pain, nausea, or fatigue. After the procedure, it is essential to follow all post-operative care instructions given by your doctor. These instructions may include pain relief medication, regular saline rinses, and avoiding certain activities that could cause discomfort or further damage to the area.

The recovery process varies for each patient, but a child’s adenoidectomy recovery is typically quicker than an adult’s, taking approximately two weeks. Children may require one week of downtime at home without daycare or school and up to two weeks of limited activities to ensure a complete recovery.

Common symptoms during adenoidectomy recovery

During recovery, it is common for children to display various symptoms. These include:

  • Ear and throat pain
  • Fever for 1-2 days after surgery
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling at the back of the throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Nose drainage

Some symptoms, like fever and nose drainage, should dissipate within several days. Other symptoms, like fatigue and ear and throat pain, can persist for up to two weeks. Some symptoms can also be cause for concern and require a visit to your surgeon to ensure your child is healing correctly. After your child’s adenoidectomy, seek emergency care for symptoms such as:

  • Passing out or loss of consciousness
  • Severe bleeding
  • Trouble breathing
  • Excessive pus
  • High fever for more than 1-2 days
  • Unable to eat or drink
  • Worsening pain

If you see concerning symptoms or a significant change in recovery, call your board-certified surgeon to schedule a follow-up appointment or find a nearby emergency department to receive immediate help.

How to care for your child after an adenoidectomy

Once your child is home, it is vital to keep them in a calm environment, limit their physical activity, and continue pain relief medication as prescribed by your doctor. It is also important to avoid giving your child any hard-to-chew food or hot drinks until the doctor has indicated your child is healed. Additionally, it is essential to monitor your child’s progress and report any changes or concerns to their doctor. After a few days of rest, your child should be able to increase activities while continuing to follow any post-operative care instructions. You can help your child heal comfortably with these tips:

  • Avoid crowded areas to prevent sickness.
  • Serve soft, cold foods like popsicles.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Take prescribed or recommended medications to reduce pain.
  • Nap and rest on the couch or bed.

How the Expert Surgeons at Pediatric ENT Associates at Children’s of Alabama Can Help

Pediatric ENT Associates at Children’s of Alabama specializes in the diagnostic and surgical care of head and neck diseases, including adenoidectomies. Our board-certified surgeons are Alabama-licensed experts focusing on ear, nose, and throat diseases in infants and toddlers.

During your child’s adenoidectomy, our distinguished surgeons provide care and information to help you understand the recovery process. If you think your child may need an adenoidectomy, our surgeons can answer your questions and help prepare you and your child for the procedure and aftercare. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about what to expect after your child’s adenoidectomy.