If your child has trouble breathing through their nose, they may be a candidate for adenoid surgery. This surgery can help by opening up the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe through the nose, and improving their ability to sleep at night. While this sounds like an ideal solution, there are some things you should know before your child has an adenoidectomy that might help you decide if this is right for them.
A Guide to Adenoid Surgery
Adenoids are part of a network of lymph nodes found in our head and neck region. They are there to catch dust, viruses, bacteria and other pathogens that enter our body through breathing and talking. Most children have large adenoids that hang down into their nasal cavities, which can be uncomfortable for them. Most will not experience serious problems with enlarged adenoids. However, some kids may have trouble breathing through their nose because of these adenoids.
In those cases, doctors may recommend removing them surgically. The most common procedure is called a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A). During T&A surgery, surgeons remove any visible or palpable adenoidal tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue as possible. The goal is to remove as little tissue as possible so that recovery is quick and complications are minimized.
This surgery is usually performed on children between 6 months and 12 years old. It’s important to note that not all adenoid problems require surgical intervention; however, if they do, then it’s good to know what to expect from both a medical and financial standpoint. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about adenoid surgery below.
Considerations Before Undergoing Adenoid Surgery
As a parent, it can be hard to watch your child suffer from problems with sleeping and breathing. Sleep deprivation is known for causing a number of long-term health issues, so if your pediatrician suspects that your son or daughter suffers from enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, their advice may be to have surgery. This can certainly seem scary, but it’s important not to get ahead of yourself.
There are several things you should consider before having your child undergo adenoid surgery. Here are some things to think about:
1) How will my child feel after his or her procedure?
While every child reacts differently, most children find that they feel much better after undergoing adenoid removal surgery. If your doctor recommends removing both tonsils and adenoids at once, he or she will likely prescribe pain medication for post-surgery discomfort. In addition, many patients find that they experience less discomfort when they opt for general anesthesia instead of local anesthesia—but there are risks associated with general anesthesia as well (including nausea). Schedule an appointment with us about which option would be best for your child in order to make an informed decision.
2) What are my options?
It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to adenoid removal. If your doctor recommends removing both tonsils and adenoids, there are several different surgical procedures that can be used—and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. Schedule an appointment with us about which procedure would be best for your child in order to make an informed decision.
3) How much will my insurance cover?
While there are a number of different factors that can affect how much a procedure costs, it’s important to remember that not all procedures are covered by insurance. Even if your doctor recommends removing both tonsils and adenoids, it may be up to you to pay for any portion of their surgery that isn’t covered by your insurance plan. Get in touch with your insurance services provider and find out what is the process and costs involved to ensure you have adequate financial support.
4) What kind of support is available after my child’s procedure?
While most children feel better after undergoing adenoid removal surgery, it’s important not to forget about things like follow-up appointments and post-surgery care. Schedule an appointment with us to get a better perspective and the right information based on your child’s medical condition.
Prepare Your Child For The Surgery
Before, during and after an adenoidectomy, there are things parents can do to ease their child’s fear or anxiety and make sure they have as few side effects as possible following their procedure.
Here are some tips for preparing your child for an adenoidectomy
- Be honest about what’s going to happen: You don’t want your child to feel scared or unprepared, so it’s important to explain what they can expect from their surgery beforehand. Talk about how doctors will put them under with medicine so they won’t feel any pain and won’t remember anything about it afterward. Then talk about what happens after they wake up—they might feel groggy at first but should begin feeling better quickly.
- Explain why it’s necessary: While your child may not fully understand why they’re having surgery, you can still prepare them by explaining that it’s necessary to fix something that’s making them sick or uncomfortable. Letting them know that someone else has already been through it may also help reduce their fears about what’s coming next.
- Set realistic expectations: It’s natural for kids to worry about whether they’ll be able to play sports or go back to school right away following surgery, but try not to promise more than you can deliver when answering questions like these.
- Stay calm yourself: Try to remain calm and avoid using negative words or phrases in front of your child. Stay positive to keep your child feeling confident.
- Check out all precautions with your doctor ahead of time: Ask if there are any restrictions on food intake before surgery—some surgeons require patients to fast for several hours prior to being sedated, while others ask patients not eat after midnight prior to being admitted into the hospital for morning procedures.
Recovery From Adenoid Surgery
Recovering from adenoid surgery isn’t like recovering from a cold or tonsillectomy. While your child is convalescing, it’s important that they stay hydrated and do their best to eat nutritious foods as they heal.
Before and after healing, continue with these steps It’s also important to keep children on any medications they were taking prior to surgery, including those for allergies and asthma. As always, be sure to follow up with your doctor if you have any questions about post-surgery care, and stick to the suggested after-care protocol.
When Will My Child Be Able To Go Back To School?
Once doctors clear kids for school attendance following adenoid removal (usually within a week), it’s still not time for them to dive back into classes headfirst. We advise parents of young children who’ve had ear infections or sinus issues—two common causes of enlarged adenoids—to wait until school vacation periods (winter break, spring break) before sending them back. That way, they can focus on resting and recuperating without worrying about missing out on school.
The same goes for older students: Doctors recommend taking at least two weeks off from school after having their adenoids removed if possible. Otherwise, they say that students should take it easy and avoid strenuous activities like sports until their ears have healed completely.
Surgery for an adenoid is a relatively routine procedure, and most children report few complications and easy recovery. That said, it’s always wise to get a second opinion from a pediatric ear, nose, and throat doctor with experience performing these surgeries. Your ENT can help confirm whether or not your child needs surgery and explain what you can expect during recovery. The earlier in life that adenoids are removed, the more likely they are to have positive impacts on growth, speech development, and overall hearing ability.
Schedule an appointment with us for a thorough examination and assessment in order to understand what would be best for your child in order to make an informed decision.