Consent: Adenoidectomy

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Last updated: October 26, 2022
Revisions: 3

Last updated: October 26, 2022
Revisions: 3

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This article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a template for consenting patients. The person obtaining consent should have clear knowledge of the procedure and the potential risks and complications. Always refer to your local or national guidelines, and the applicable and appropriate law in your jurisdiction governing patient consent.

Overview of Procedure

An adenoidectomy is an operation to remove or reduce the adenoid tissue, the lymphoid tissue present in the nasopharynx. This is mainly performed for recurrent tonsillitis.

The procedure is performed transorally. It can be completed by curettage, before being packed, or by a combination of suction and coblation diathermy, all under direct vision using a mirror.

Figure 1 – The lingual and palatine tonsils



Complication Description of Complication Potential Ways to Reduce Risk
Haemorrhage Damage to any of the surrounding structures and blood vessels, occurs in <2% cases Ensure adequate haemostasis throughout every step of the procedure
Injury to the gums, lips, teeth, tongue, and jaw In order to obtain good exposure, the jaw is typically suspended using a special mouth gag
Anaesthetic risks Includes damage to the teeth, throat and larynx, reaction to medications, nausea and vomiting, cardiovascular, and respiratory complications. Forms a part of the anaesthetist assessment before the operation



Complication Description of Complication Potential Ways to Reduce Risk
Pain Often only a mild sore throat, will typically pass within a few days
Bleeding This can occur immediately after surgery or up to 2 weeks after. Whilst often minor, in severe cases may require a return to theatre and / or blood transfusion
Infection Due to the open tissue bed, infection is common; can result in delayed bleeding
Palatal insufficiency After adenoidectomy, the soft palate has to close a larger gap during speech and swallowing; this leads to leakage of food or fluids through the nose This usually improves, however if not the patient may need further surgery or speech therapy
Change in voice Large adenoids tend to cause muffling of the voice; when the adenoids are removed, the quality of the voice changes, this may last for a few days



Complication Description of Complication Potential Ways to Reduce Risk
Regrowth Can occur in 5-10% of cases Ensure meticulous dissection of the lymphoid tissue during the procedure
Eustachian Tube damage Can lead to pain, hearing loss, and dizziness