Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

The tonsils are small, round pieces of tissue that are located in the back of the mouth on the side of the throat. Tonsils are thought to help fight infections by producing antibodies. You can see your child's tonsils with a flashlight. Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become inflamed.

Adenoids are similar to tonsils. They're made up of lymph tissue and are located in the space above the soft roof of the mouth (nasopharynx) and cannot be seen by looking in your child's nose or throat. Adenoids also help to fight infections. Adenoids may cause problems if they become enlarged or infected.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy

Once the need for surgery has been determined, you will meet with different members of your health care team who are going to be involved with your child's care at Children's. These include:

  • Nurses. Day surgery nurses prepare your child for surgery. Operating room nurses assist the physicians during surgery. Recovery room (also called the Post Anesthesia Care Unit) nurses care for your child as she emerges from general anesthesia.
  • Surgeon. The pediatric physician who specializes in surgery of the ear, nose, and throat will perform your child's surgery.
  • Anesthesiologist. A pediatric physician with specialized training in anesthesia will complete a medical history and physical examination and formulate a plan of anesthesia for your child. The plan will be discussed with you; all your questions will be answered. Your child will have to undergo general anesthesia for this procedure.