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How Long Does it Take to Recover from Adenoid Surgery?

Adenoid surgery, also called adenoidectomy, is a procedure to remove the adenoid glands in the roof of the mouth. Adenoid surgery is most commonly performed on children, but can be necessary for some adults as well. How long does it take to recover from adenoid surgery?

First, it’s important to understand what adenoid surgery is, and how it is performed. The adenoid glands are located above the roof of the mouth, behind the nose. Swelling of these glands occurs due to ear infections, sinus infections or allergies. When these infections frequently recur, the swollen adenoid glands can interfere with breathing by blocking the airway. While the adenoid glands begin to shrink on their own in late childhood (and usually disappear by the time children become teenagers), chronically infected glands may need to be removed to improve airway function.

Adenoid surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure by an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgeon. The patient is placed under general anesthesia and then the mouth is propped open with a medical device. A small tool is used to gently cut out the adenoid tissue, and then the surrounding tissue will be cauterized to stop bleeding and promote healing. If the tonsils need to be removed, a tonsillectomy can be performed at the same time. In all, the adenoidectomy itself lasts about 20-30 minutes, followed by a recovery period under observation of a nurse. Once the anesthesia wears off and the patient demonstrates they can breathe, cough and swallow on their own, they are released to go home.

Full recovery from adenoid surgery takes about 1-2 weeks. If adenoid surgery is performed without a tonsillectomy, recovery can be even faster. Stuffiness, swelling, pain and a low-grade fever are all symptoms to be expected following the surgery. Eating and drinking can be resumed immediately once home, but soft and cool foods will be easier on the area for several days. Rest is also recommended as much as possible in the first few days following surgery. A followup appointment or phone call will be scheduled for several weeks post-surgery to ensure that the mouth has fully healed, but otherwise recovery is straightforward.

If you or a loved one are suffering from snoring, difficulty breathing or sleep apnea, it is important to meet with a doctor to diagnose the underlying cause. If the adenoid glands are to blame, adenoid surgery is a great treatment option with a quick recovery time and good prognosis. At Biltmore Ear, Nose and Throat, we have the top doctors available to treat your ear, nose and throat problems. Call (602) 956-1250 to schedule an appointment.