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Adenoidectomy Home Care Instructions

What are adenoids?

The adenoids are lymph tissues in the back of the nose. Sometimes adenoids grow too large, making it hard to breathe through the nose. This may cause snoring at night, chronic mouth-breathing, a change in your child's facial appearance, voice, or position of teeth. Enlarged adenoids may also cause ear infections. Infected adenoids may lead to frequent colds or sinus problems. If antibiotics or allergy medications do not help adenoid problems, surgery may be needed.

Having the operation:

  • An adenoidectomy takes approximately 30 minutes, and is done in the operating room with the child completely asleep using special medicine called anesthesia.
  • An adenoidectomy may be done at the same time as another operation, such as putting in ear tubes, surgery on the nasal turbinates or removal of the tonsils.
  • Your child will have an IV. This will be started after he/she is asleep.
  • Most children will not have to spend the night in the hospital but will need to stay about 2 hours after surgery.
  • Aspirin should be avoided for 2 weeks before and after the surgery because it causes the blood to form clots more slowly.

What to expect after surgery:

    Your child will have IV fluids, usually until the time for discharge. We will offer patients clear liquids to sip.
  • Most children are fussy the first few hours after this procedure. Parents are invited into the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) soon after the child begins to awaken.
  • Sometimes there is slight bleeding. Your child may cough and spit up some pink or brown mucous.
  • You may notice a red/flushed color on your child's face and chest. This splotchy, red, flushing is due to medicine received in surgery. This will soon fade.
  • Your child may complain of a sore throat or nose. Talking may be painful. A non-aspirin pain reliever or narcotic may be given.
  • An antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent or treat an infection.
  • Mucous from the nose may be brownish in color due to old blood mixing with the normal mucous from the nose.
  • Your child will have a stuffy nose and snoring may persist for 1-2 weeks until swelling decreases.
  • Your child will have bad breath for 1-2 weeks.
  • There may be a nasal quality to your child's voice. This is normal and may last for several weeks until the muscles in the throat adjust.
  • Your child may begin normal play after 1-2 days, but may need to stay out of school for several days. Please check with your child's doctor about this.

When to call your child's doctor:

  • Your child has bright red bleeding from his/her nose or mouth.
  • Your child vomits a lot of bright red blood or if he/she vomits a coffee ground-like material.
  • Your child begins having a croupy (barky) cough/cry or wheezing.
  • Your child's temperature is greater than 101.5F rectally or by mouth. Slight fevers after surgery are normal. You should take your child's temperature at least once before bedtime the night of the procedure.
  • Your child has vomiting that lasts more than 6 hours or if the vomiting is severe. A child can become dehydrated when he/she has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss. The signs of dehydration are: dry mouth, sunken look around eyes, no tears when crying, decreased amount of urine, which means fewer wet diapers than usual in an infant or toddler.
    • Your child's nurse will discuss this with you before you go home.

Follow Up

A check-up may be scheduled for 2-8 weeks after surgery. Please call if you have questions. Use the phone number your child's nurse gives you.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 07/2013