• Adenoidectomy is an operation to remove the adenoids. It is performed when the adenoids are so large that they block the eustachian tube, causing glue ear, or block the nose, causing breathing problems. The adenoids start shrinking after 6–7 years of age and rarely cause problems after 10 years of age.
  • The operation is usually performed under general anaesthetic as a day-case procedure, unless the tonsils are removed at the same time. The operation takes about 10 minutes. If the tonsils are removed at the same time, an overnight stay in hospital may be needed.
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  • Adenoidectomy is performed through the open mouth with a special instrument holding the mouth open. A curette, which is a spoon-shaped instrument, is used to scrape away the soft, blancmange-like adenoids. A swab is then applied until the bleeding stops.
  • The discomfort after the operation lasts only a few days and is easily controlled with paracetamol. Children should remain off school, and unnecessary contact with other children should be avoided for 7 days.
  • Bleeding occurs in about 1–2% of patients, most of whom will still be in hospital when it starts. If bleeding starts later, the child should be taken back to the hospital as quickly as possible. Rarely, another operation under anaesthesia will be needed to stop the bleeding.

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