Caring for your child after an adenoidectomy

Not sure what to expect after your child gets their adenoids removed? Here’s what you need to know for a smooth recovery.

Adenoids are glands located above the tonsils at the back of the nose. If adenoids keep getting infected or become enlarged, they can cause breathing and sleep problems, as well as ear infections, sinusitis or glue ear.

If these problems are ongoing and serious, your doctor might recommend removing your child’s adenoids (also known as an adenoidectomy). This is done under a general anaesthetic, usually as a day procedure.

Read on for information on what to expect, and tips to prepare and recover better.

 

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Prepare well for a smooth recovery

Preparing well can help make your child’s surgery less stressful for both of you. It can also help avoid complications in hospital and during recovery.

Read more about preparing for your child’s hospital stay

What to expect as your child recovers from having their adenoids out

When your child has only their adenoids removed, they may have a sore throat for a few days. They might also have a blocked nose and some blood-stained discharge coming from their nose—this usually last a few days but can stick around for weeks. Bad breath is also common—it should go away within a couple weeks.

Most children need at least a day or two to rest at home before they get back to their every-day activities. If your child is having their tonsils out at the same time, they’ll take longer to recover and may experience other symptoms.

Is your child having a tonsillectomy at the same time?

Often when a child gets their adenoids out, they have their tonsils out at the same time. This is because infections that happen repeatedly usually affect both the tonsils and the adenoids.

Read more about caring for your child after a tonsillectomy

Managing pain and discomfort

Managing pain: Follow your doctor’s instructions for pain relief and clarify anything you’re not sure about. Don’t give your child aspirin as it increases their risk of bleeding.

Soothing a sore throat: For the first day or two you can soothe their throat with cool drinks, ice cream, ice blocks or other cold foods such as jelly, yogurt or smoothies.

Blocked and runny nose: You can wipe your child’s nose gently, but it’s important that they don’t blow their nose. It can take up to a month for their nose to fully clear.

Nose bleeds: If their nose bleeds have them lay on their side and put pressure on the side of their nose for about 10 minutes. If that doesn’t stop the bleeding, take your child to the hospital emergency department.

Make sure they get enough to eat and drink

Check that your child is drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. It's also important that they return to a normal healthy diet as soon as they can.

Reduce the risk of infection

Take steps to prevent an infection, especially during the first week after they get their adenoids out. Keep your child away from anyone with a cold or flu and try to stay away from crowded and confined spaces.

Warning signs to watch out for

Bleeding

Take your child to hospital if you see blood from their nose, throat or mouth in the first two weeks after surgery, and it hasn’t stopped after you’ve had them lie on their side and applied pressure for 10 minutes.

Refusing food and drinks

Contact the surgeon, hospital or your GP if your child can’t eat or drink.

Fever

Contact the surgeon, hospital or your GP if your child has a temperature of 38° or over.

Vomiting

Contact your doctor if your child vomits 3-4 times, or has more than a teaspoon of bright red blood in their vomit.

Eligible members can also call 24/7 Medibank Nurse to speak to a registered nurse on 1800 644 325.  This service is available 24/7 at no cost for Medibank members with hospital cover.

Looking for something else?

Visit our Hospital Assist homepage for a range of tools and advice to help you at every stage of your hospital journey.

Things you need to know

~    OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees). 

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