The adenoid pad is a collection of tissue located in the nasopharynx, the space directly behind the nose. It is made of lymphoid tissue, similar to the tonsils in the throat. Although lymphoid tissue is primarily involved with making antibodies (which fight infection), there has never been a study demonstrating any long term adverse effect of removing the adenoid (or tonsils). Any noticeable observations after removing the adenoid have generally been positive.

At birth, the adenoid is present, but very small. Adenoid tissue enlarges steadily until about school age, when it then plateaus its growth for a few years. The adenoid pad then slowly atrophies (shrinks) into the teen years. Adults still have adenoid tissue present, but very rarely does it cause problems. Because of the location of the adenoid behind the nose and above the palate, it is not seen on routine physical examination. The tissue can be evaluated either with x-rays or by a fiberoptic telescopic examination through the nose.

Adenoidectomy is one of the most common procedures performed by the Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist). When only the adenoid is enlarged, adenoidectomy may be performed for symptoms such as chronic nasal congestion, mouth breathing, sleep disordered breathing (including snoring), or chronic sinusitis in children. Adenoidectomy can be performed alone, or in conjunction with tonsillectomy for patients with sleep disordered breathing (including snoring and/or obstructive sleep apnea). Adenoidectomy may also be performed in combination with placement of ear tubes (pressure equalization tubes) to help reduce chronic middle ear fluid or recurrent ear infections. In some cases, adenoidectomy is done on patients to prevent or treat existing orthodontic problems. Improving one's ability to breathe through the nose, rather than the mouth, can optimize orthodontia results. Adenoidectomy is generally very well tolerated with minimal post-operative discomfort.

Below are several reputable links that may help you better understand adenoidectomy:

From our National Academy website:

From the National Institutes of Health: