What you need to know about Adenoids and Adenoidectomy

Also known as pharyngeal tonsil or nasopharyngeal tonsils, Adenoids are small lumps of tissue that are situated on the flipside of the throat, above the tonsils. They form a part of the immune system of babies and young children, and ward off infection by protecting the body against harmful pathogens.

Adenoids commence their growth at birth, peak in size between the ages of 3 to 5 years, shrink by the age of 7, are barely detectable during adolescence, and completely disappear at adulthood.

Adenoids provide support for combating infections in babies and very young children as they have undeveloped immune systems. They completely disappear in later life as the immune system is well equipped to cope with infections.
Tonsils are visible by opening the mouth and taking a look into the mirror; however, adenoids can only be seen with the help or light, mirror, or flexible telescope.

Swelling-up of adenoids

The entry of pathogens into the body leads to their entrapment by adenoids, causing them to swell momentarily as they ward off infection. While the puffiness resolves by itself in most cases, it seldom requires medical attention.
Occasionally, the adenoids themselves get infected if the bacterial infection is severe.

Children commonly have swollen or enlarged adenoids, and tonsils may also swell up simultaneously.
Swollen or enlarged adenoids may cause signs and symptoms, including blocked or stuffy nose, ear problems, sleeping difficulties, snoring, sore throat, swallowing difficulties, swelling of neck glands.

The adenoids may continue to remain enlarged despite recovery from the infection. While some children are actually born with enlarged adenoids, the swelling of adenoids can be attributed to an allergic reaction can cause irritation in the others.


This refers to the fast and uncomplicated surgical removal of adenoids with limited risks. Experts believe that children with an adenoidectomy are not at an increased risk of successive infections, and that in the absence of adenoids, their immune system will still be able to combat pathogens. Adenoidectomy is usually not performed on very young children.

Tonsillectomy refers to the surgical removal of tonsils, and sometimes the doctor performs this in parallel to adenoidectomy. However, there is always a likelihood of regrowth after adenoidectomy

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