Skip to main content

Adenoidectomy in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.


An adenoidectomy

is surgery to remove your child's adenoids. Adenoids are located at the back of your child's nasal passage. They may need to be removed if they are enlarged or if they cause infections often.

Adenoid and Tonsil Removal

How to prepare your child for an adenoidectomy:

  • Your child's surgeon will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to let your child eat or drink anything after midnight before surgery.
  • Tell your child's surgeon about all the medicines your child currently takes. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any of your child's medicines for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to give your child on the day of surgery.
  • Tell your child's healthcare provider about all of your child's allergies. Tell him or her if your child has had an allergic reaction to anesthesia or any other medicines.

What will happen during an adenoidectomy:

  • Your child will have general anesthesia and be asleep during surgery.
  • Your child's healthcare provider will remove the adenoids through your child's mouth. He or she will not have incisions or stitches.

What to expect after your child's surgery:

  • Your child may be able to go home the same day of his or her surgery. He or she may need to stay in the hospital if he or she has breathing problems or other medical conditions.
  • Your child may have a low-grade fever for 1 to 2 days.
  • Your child may snore or breathe through his or her mouth due to swelling in his or her throat. His or her breathing will return to normal after the swelling goes down.
  • Your child may have bad breath due to scabs that formed where his or her adenoids were removed. These thick, white scabs fall off in small pieces 5 to 10 days after surgery.
  • Do not let your child blow his or her nose for 1 week after surgery, or as directed. Heavy bleeding may happen if scabs fall off when your child blows his or her nose.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You see bright red blood in your child's saliva or coming from his or her nose.

Call your child's surgeon or doctor if:

  • Your child has signs of dehydration, such as dark yellow urine, little or no urine, or crying without tears.
  • Your child has a fever above 102°F (39°C) or a low-grade fever for longer than 2 days.
  • Your child has severe pain, even after he or she takes medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to give this medicine to your child safely.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Do not give aspirin to children younger than 18 years. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he or she has the flu or a fever and takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin or salicylates.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell the provider if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

How to care for your child after surgery:

Throat pain may make it difficult for your child to eat and drink, but liquids and proper nutrition are important for his or her recovery.

  • Have your child drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much liquid he or she should drink each day and which liquids are best.
  • Have your child eat soft foods after his or her surgery. The sooner your child eats and chews, the quicker his or her recovery. Soft foods include applesauce, ice cream, scrambled eggs, or soups with soft vegetables, pasta, or rice.


Increase your child's activities slowly. Ask your child's healthcare provider when he or she can return to school and his or her normal activities.

Risks of an adenoidectomy:

Your child may get an infection. Throat pain may cause your child to not eat or drink enough, and he or she may become dehydrated. Swelling in his or her throat may cause your child to have difficulty breathing.

Follow up with your child's surgeon or doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during visits.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.