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Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service

Adenoidectomy fact sheet


Adenoidectomy is the removal of adenoids (a mass of enlarged lymphatic tissue) from the back of the nose. An ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon removes the adenoids through the mouth. The operation can help reduce further ear and nose problems such as ear infections, snoring, nasal obstruction and sinusitus.

How long will the operation take?

An adenoidectomy is performed under general anaesthesia. Your child will be in the operating theatre for between 45 minutes and one hour. This includes the anaesthetic, operation and time in the recovery room.

How long will my child stay in hospital?

Your child will generally return to the ward for observation for between four and six hours after the operation, however your doctor may decide that an overnight stay is necessary. When your child has fully recovered you will be given information to help you care for them at home.

Caring for your child at home


There is a slight risk of bleeding within 10 to 14 days after an adenoidectomy. If you notice any bleeding contact your doctor immediately or return to the emergency department at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Pain relief

Your child may have pain medication (e.g. paracetamol) before or after the operation. It is important your child is given pain relief continuously every four to six hours for two full days after their operation. Read the medication’s dosage guide to ensure you give your child the correct dose for their age/weight.

Record the time your child takes the medication to ensure it is given as often as required.

Aspirin should NOT to given to your child for two weeks before or after the procedure as it can increase bleeding.

Food and drink

  • Aneasthetic can sometimes leave a child feeling nauseous and with no appetite. When your child feels hungry, they can eat something light. Most children resume their usual diets the next day.
  • If your child experiences nausea or vomiting at home, stop food and fluids for one hour. They should then sip clear fluid and eat a small amount of dry food such as plain toast or a biscuit.

During your child’s recovery

  • Children sometimes develop a slight temperature following an adenoidectomy. The continuous pain-relief medication may help with this. If your child becomes unwell, is not taking fluids and their temperature increases, contact your GP or the hospital.
  • If antibiotics have been prescribed for your child, it is important that the entire course is taken as instructed by the doctor.
  • You may notice your child has bad smelling breath after the operation. This is not unusual and should pass in a few days as the healing takes place.


  • Depending on your child’s rate of recovery, they may return to school or daycare the next day. Let the carers/teachers know about the operation and that you child may feel tired or lethargic.
  • Strenuous activities such as sports should be limited for 10-14 days following an adenoidectomy.

Contact us

Ear, Nose and Throat Outpatients Department
Level 3a, Queensland Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane

Clinical nurse
t: 07 3068 2563 (8am – 5pm, M-F)

Clinical nurse consultant
t: 07 3068 1889 (7am – 3.30pm, M-F)

Day surgery (4c)
07 3068 3430 (24 hours, M-Sat)

Hospital switchboard
07 3068 1111 (24 hours, 7 days)

In an emergency, always call 000.

If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Resource No: FS001. Developed by Ear, Nose, Throat. Updated: February 2015. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.