ZocdocAnswersWhat does having your adenoids removed help with?

Question

What does having your adenoids removed help with?

My friend just had her tonsils and adenoids out. I know having her tonsils out will help her throat, but what does it do when you have your adenoids removed?

Answer

First of all, adenoids and tonsils are actually more similar then you might think. They are both part of something called Waldeyer's ring. Waldeyer's ring is a "ring" of lymphoid tissue in the nose and back of the throat. It includes the pharyngeal tonsils (what most people refer to as the "tonsils" in the back of the throat), adenoids (sort of like "tonsils" in the back of the nose), and lingual tonsils (lymphoid tissue on the back of the tongue). Lymphoid tissue has immune cells within it and will hypertrophy (enlarge) when the body is mounting an immune response (like when there is an infection). Tonsils are removed for various reasons, however the 2 most common indications are chronic strep throat, and obstructive sleep apnea. Adenoids on the other hand are typically removed due to recurrent ear infections. There is something called the eustacian tube that brings air from the back of the nose to the middle ear. If this tube malfunctions, or becomes clogged (like from large adenoids) it can cause negative pressure in the middle ear, and fluid will accumulate and can get infected causing recurrent infections. For this reason, adenoids are typically removed when patients have multiple sets of ear tubes for ear infections. This is most commonly done in the pediatric population due to the fact that as people age, adenoids and tonsils typically atrophy (shrink) and don't cause problems. If you think that your tonsils or adenoids may be giving you problems, I would recommend making an appointment with your primary care physician. They can refer you to an ENT if they think that you may benefit from from having the examined and possibly removed. I hope that this information is helpful. Best of luck.

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