Adenoid – Location, function and Removal

Adenoids are made of glandular tissue and are part of the immune system. They trap bacteria and viruses which you breathe in through your nose. Like tonsils, they contain cells and antibodies of the immune system to help prevent throat and lung infections.

They hang from the upper part of the back of the nasal cavity. An ENT specialists can assess its size either using a small flexible telescope, an x-ray.

Symptoms of swollen enlarged adenoids include the following

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose. The child then mainly ‘mouth breathes’.
  • The nose sounds blocked – that is the child may talk with a nasal voice.
  • A constantly runny nose.
  • Breathing through the nose may be noisy.
  • Snoring at night. In severe cases sleep may be disrupted.
  • Blockage of the entrance of the eustachian tube contributing to the formation of ‘glue ear’ (fluid in the middle ear).

 What is the treatment for enlarged adenoids?

Majority of times, when symptomatic it responds to nasal sprays. In some cases, they may need to be removed surgically if they are causing recurrent infections or other problems. This procedure is called an adenoidectomy.

Indications for adenoidectomy are as follows: 

  1.  Enlargement causing nasal airway obstruction, which can result in obstructive
  2. Breathing, obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, and chronic mouth breathing (could result in palatal and dental abnormalities)
  3. Recurrent or persistent otitis media in children aged 3-4 years and older
  4. Recurrent and/or chronic sinusitis
  5. Children with failure to thrive
  6. Children who have persistent middle ear effusions (fluid collection in the
  7. ear) often have hearing loss.
  8. Enuresis has been studied and listed as an indication for surgery.

Removal can be done through blind curetting or though coblation which is what I almost always do. The advantages can be read here. 

adenoids and adenoidectomy
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