Adenoid Surgery: Can Adenoids Grow Back After Removal?
March 21st, 2012 | Pediatric-ENT
Adenoids are located at the very back of the nasal cavity and above the roof of the mouth. Unlike tonsils, adenoids cannot be seen by looking into the mouth. They can only be spotted with the help of diagnostic instruments. Adenoids, however, are similar to tonsils in that they help the body fight off infections and viruses by filtering bacteria that might be breathed in or swallowed.
Adenoid tissue consists of lymph nodes and — along with tonsils — is an essential part of the immune system in babies and young children. As we get older, these glands become less important and are often removed before the teen years. Normal adenoids will actually shrink and almost disappear as time moves on.
Because adenoids and tonsils work so hard to trap bacteria and battle infections, they can become susceptible to infection themselves. Tonsillitis is accompanied by swollen tonsils, painful swallowing and a fever among other symptoms. Symptoms of adenoid infections are swollen adenoids —also known as adenoid hypertrophy — difficulty breathing and ear aches. In severe cases of adenoiditis, fluid buildup in the ear might eventually result in a burst or perforated ear drum.
Is One Adenoid Surgery Enough?
Once tonsils or adenoids become infected several times, the possibility of recurring problems exists. Frequent sore throats accompanied by high fever and swollen glands might indicate a child is a candidate for adenoidectomy tonsillectomy surgery. Removal of the adenoids and tonsils will often occur at the same time.
Once tonsils are removed, they are gone for good. But that is not necessarily the case with adenoids. Although adenoid removal usually resolves any subsequent issues involving these glands, they do occasionally grow back. Especially in children under the age of 4, incidents of adenoid regrowth have been reported. A small percentage of children have even had to undergo a “revision adenoidectomy” to remove adenoids a second time.
Although rare, the number of children experiencing repeat adenoid issues appears to be on a slightly upward trend, according to a Mayo Clinic study. Therefore, it is recommended that young children experiencing repeat symptoms of adenoiditis after adenoid removal surgery be re-evaluated for a possible follow-up procedure.