What Can an Adult Expect After an Adenoidectomy?


An adenoidectomy is an outpatient surgery done to remove the adenoids in people who have been having adenoid-related breathing, ear, and sinus problems. It is considered a safe and routine surgery with a low occurrence of serious post-operative problems. Most people who have had an adenoidectomy only need to miss a week of work while they recover.

At the Hospital

Immediately after surgery, the patient is brought to a recovery room where they wait until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off. Each person reacts to being put under general anesthesia differently. Some are able to regain normalcy relatively quickly, and others are bothered by a strong and persistent case of nausea for days after surgery. Your doctor will typically require you to hold down some liquids before being released from the hospital to ensure that you will not become dehydrated. A doctor may also ask you to chew gum before leaving the hospital to get your saliva glands working to keep the incision area moist.

At Home

Those who have just received an adenoidectomy will have a severe sore throat for several days, accompanied by a great deal of swelling. A prescription for pain medication should be given by your doctor to be used in the first few days after the surgery. You will only be able to drink liquids and eat soft foods in the week following the surgery due to swelling and to not irritate the incision. Extra rest will be required to recovery from anesthesia and the trauma of surgery. Some bleeding may still occur from the nose but should only happen in small amounts. People with colds and other illnesses should be avoided due to susceptibility to infection and your doctor may even prescribe a preventative antibiotic to be taken during the week after surgery.

Food and Drink

While this may seem like a good time and great excuse to eat only ice cream, it is important that a healthy level of nutrition be maintained during this period to keep the body strong to fight off infections. Sports drinks containing nutrients and electrolytes are good to drink in the week after surgery to help keep the body hydrated and in balance. Ice cream will be one of the most soothing things for the throat, but should be eaten in combination with other more nutritious soft foods. Hard and crunchy foods such as chips and popcorn should be avoided altogether during the first week after surgery because they irritate the incision and are not comfortable to swallow against the general swelling.


Contact your physician immediately if you experience more than a small amount of bleeding through the nose or any bleeding at all from the throat. Be watchful for fever or other indications of infection that may require immediate attention. If severe pain or vomiting persist past the first few days after surgery, consult your doctor for further treatment.

Long-Term Effects

Adenoidectomies are relatively simple surgeries, and there should be no long-term effects from undergoing the procedure itself. The initial recovery period may be accompanied by significant pain; however, there should not be any ongoing pain or tenderness at the incision site. Patients should be able to get back to their normal activities with no issues in the weeks after surgery.

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