Adenoid Hypertrophy

About Adenoid Hypertrophy

The adenoids, soft tissue behind the nasal cavity, are part of the immune system and are designed to trap infections before they affect the body. Sometimes, the adenoids themselves become affected and may need treatment.

Adenoid conditions affect children more often than adults. By adulthood, the adenoid tissue usually shrinks and disappears. Some adults who still have adenoids, as well as some children, may be affected by obstructive sleep apnea, in which the flow of air through the throat is blocked during sleep.

Inflamed adenoids, usually a result of bacterial infection, are known as adenoiditis. Enlarged adenoids can cause a problem in breathing or with the proper flow of nasal mucus. In children, enlarged adenoids can block the Eustachian tubes which drain fluid from the ears into the throat. Repeated ear infections in children may be caused by enlarged or inflamed adenoids.

Diagnosis of adenoid disorders can be made with endoscopy, the use of a small flexible tube with a lighted camera inserted into the mouth or nose, or through a CT scan. The CT scan takes multiple x-rays which are then built into a detailed image of the sinuses, nasal cavity, and adenoids.

If surgical treatment of adenoids is needed, an adenoidectomy may be performed, sometimes in conjunction with a tonsillectomy. It is generally an outpatient surgery, performed under general anesthesia, and the patient is allowed to go home the same day.

For more information about adenoids, contact the National Sinus Institute.