Adenoiditis and Adenoid Hypertrophy

Where is the adenoid?

The adenoid is a lump of tissue at the back of the nose above the tonsils. To see them, your physician can look through your mouth and view the back of your nose using a mirror, may choose to look with a flexible camera in the nose, or may use an x-ray.

What is the adenoid?

The adenoid is a lymph node. A lymph node contains “lymphocytes”, which are cells that help to fight infection. The adenoid is a part of a group of lymph nodes that include the tonsils, found around the back of the throat (known as Waldeyer’s ring). Together, they act to help process infections in the nose and throat.

What is adenoiditis?

Unfortunately, sometimes the adenoid tissue gets infected and the infection can last for weeks or months. This is called adenoiditis. If you have adenoiditis, you may have a runny or stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, headache, or cough.

How is adenoiditis treated?

Usually, adenoiditis responds to antibiotics taken by mouth. If antibiotics fail to get rid of the infection, the adenoid tissue may have to be removed.

What is adenoid hypertrophy?

In most children, the adenoid enlarges normally during early childhood, when infections of the nose and throat are most common. They usually shrink as the child gets older and disappear by puberty. However, in some children, the adenoid continues to become larger and blocks the passage behind the nose. This can result in snoring, breathing through the mouth, and/or a HYPONASAL sound to the speech (sounds like talking with a stuffed nose). Additionally, this can result in OTITIS MEDIA (middle ear infections) because of blockage of the eustachian tube (the tube that connects the ear to the throat).

When is adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoids) a consideration?

Your doctor may have sent you to an ear nose and throat specialist to be evaluated for removal of the adenoid.

Some of the guidelines that we follow to consider an adenoidectomy are:

  1. Chronic infection of the adenoid (sinus-like symptoms) despite adequate treatment.
  2. Adenoid hypertrophy (enlargement) causing mouth breathing, nasal blockage, snoring, and restless sleep.
  3. Recurrent ear infections

What is involved with removing the adenoids?

Every patient undergoing removal of adenoid tissue is first screened to ensure they are not at an increased risk of having HYPERNASAL speech (sounds like talking through the nose) following surgery. The surgery is done through the mouth under a general anesthetic. Many times we use cautery (removal with suction and heat) to perform the surgery, resulting in very little, and many times, no blood loss. This surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and lasts about 20 minutes.