Adenoids are a mass of tissue that, along with your tonsils, help keep you healthy by trapping harmful germs that pass through the nose or mouth. Your adenoids also produce antibodies to help your body fight infections. Unlike tonsils, which can be easily seen by opening your mouth, you cannot see the adenoids. A doctor has to use a small mirror or special instrument with a light to see the adenoids. Sometimes X-rays may be taken to see them more clearly.
While adenoids play an important role in keeping a person healthy, as you get older, adenoids become less important, because your body is able to fight infection in other ways. In fact, adenoids often get smaller around age 5 or 6 and virtually disappear by the teen years.
An adenoidectomy is performed by a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat surgery. It occurs in a hospital or outpatient surgical center under general anesthesia, meaning your child is put to sleep. The tonsils and/or adenoids can be removed through the mouth so no additional incisions are made except for where the tissues are removed.
Most patients can go home following the procedure; but, you should expect to be in the surgical center for around four or five hours after the surgery so that your child can be carefully monitored. Your doctor can give you more specific instructions as to what to expect based on your child's particular health needs.