Sussex ENT: Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust
Worthing and Southlands Hospital


Adenoids and Adenoidectomy

What are the Adenoids?

The adenoids are lymphoid tissue found in the back of the nose. They work along with the tonsils to form a ring of lymphoid tissue that is exposed to the air we breath and the food and drink we ingest. This lymphoid tissue called “Waldeyer’s ring” is involved in developing the immune system in babies and children. It enables the body to develop ways of preventing and coping with infection.
They come from the back wall of the nose (post nasal space) and can some times be too big. If they are too big they can block the drainage tubes from the ears (Eustachtian tubes) and even block the flow of air from the nose causing mouth breathing, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. As a child grows older they start to shrink as they are no longer needed. This normally occurs around the age of 7 to 8.

Why do we take them out if they help develop the immune system?

The adenoids and tonsils work with other patches of lymphoid tissue in the throat and gut to help develop the immune system and taking the adenoids and/or tonsils out will not cause any problems with immune system development.

What are the reasons to take out the adenoids?

Adenoidectomy alone:

Grommets and adenoidectomy:

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy:

How is an adenoidectomy performed:

The adenoids are removed from the back of the nose by operating through the mouth. There are several techniques used but the purpose is to remove the adenoids but causing as little injury to the surrounding tissues.

What are the risks of adenoidectomy:

The main risk in adenoidectomy are:

Dental injury (small risk of removing loose teeth)
Anaesthetic risks
Recurrence of adenoids (they can occasionally grow back)