Adenoids, also known as pharyngeal tonsils, are a patch of tissue located at the back of the throat, near the nasal passages. Adenoids are part of the lymphatic system and play a role in immune function, particularly in children.
Here are some key points about adenoids:
- Location: Adenoids are located in the upper part of the throat, behind the nose and the roof of the mouth (nasopharynx). They are not visible through the mouth and require special instruments to be examined.
- Function: Adenoids are a component of the immune system and help trap and filter out bacteria and viruses that are breathed in through the nose. They are most active during childhood and tend to shrink as a person gets older.
- Adenoid Hypertrophy: Sometimes, adenoids can become enlarged or hypertrophic due to repeated infections or other reasons. This can lead to breathing difficulties, snoring, and other symptoms. In such cases, a doctor may recommend removal of the adenoids through a surgical procedure called adenoidectomy.
- Adenoidectomy: An adenoidectomy is a common surgical procedure performed in children when enlarged adenoids are causing problems like obstructed breathing or recurrent ear infections. The surgery involves the removal of the adenoid tissue, usually through the mouth, without any external incisions.
- Complications: While adenoidectomy is generally safe, there can be complications such as bleeding, infection, or changes in voice quality. These are relatively rare, and the benefits of the surgery often outweigh the risks when indicated.
It’s important to note that the tonsils, which are located at the back of the throat, are different from the adenoids. They are also part of the lymphatic system and can be subject to similar issues such as infections and hypertrophy. Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils, and it is a separate procedure from adenoidectomy. Both procedures may be performed in cases where there are recurrent infections or other medical issues.