Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Adenoids and Adenoidectomy


Call (615) 936-8176 for an appointment or to contact the Otolaryngology Clinic.

What are adenoids?

The adenoids are lymph tissues in the space above the soft roof of the mouth (nasopharynx). They cannot be seen by looking in your child's nose or throat. Adenoids are similar to the tonsils. Adenoids help fight infections, but they may cause problems if they become enlarged or infected.

Adenoiditis is inflammation of the adenoids from infection. Your child's doctor may recommend an adenoidectomy to remove them.

What are the symptoms of adenoiditis, or enlarged adenoids?

These symptoms vary greatly depending on the cause of the infection, and can occur either suddenly or gradually.

Following are the most common symptoms of adenoiditis.

  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Noisy breathing
  • Snoring
  • Nasal speech
  • Periods at night when breathing stops for a few seconds


If adenoid problem continues and antibiotics do not help, a surgeon may recommend removing the adenoids. Sometimes, the tonsils and adenoids are removed at the same time. This surgery is called a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A). Your child's doctor will discuss this with you.

What to expect after surgery

The sore throat following an adenoidectomy is usually mild. The breathing tube inserted during surgery may actually cause more discomfort than the surgery. If a tonsillectomy was not performed, Tylenol or Motrin may be used for pain control. Motrin is not permitted following a tonsilectomy.

Some patients complain of a mild headache for a couple of days following surgery.

Fever of up to 102°F (38.8° C) can occur for up to 72 hours, related to the anesthetic. The pain medicine includes Tylenol, which can help reduce fever. Fevers higher than 102°F don't tend to occur with surgery, and are a sign of other illness.

Even though the adenoids have been shrunken or removed, post-surgical swelling can make nasal obstruction worse for the first week after surgery. Use a nasal saline mist  (Simply Saline, Nasamist, or Ocean Mist), one or two sprays in each nostril five times a day or more for at least one week to help.

Expect your child to have terrible breath for seven to 10 days. This is a normal by-product of healing. Sometimes the antibiotics help with this bad breath. Additional hydration can also help, as can chewing gum.

Last Edited: April 3, 2017
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