Question: My son is 4 years old. Do you use antibiotics during the surgery when removing adenoids from children?
Answer: The adenoids are lymph tissue, similar to the tonsils. They are located in the back of the nose and have the role of helping fight infection. They are most active in young children and get smaller as we get older. They are largest relative to the size of the airway in children about the age of 4 to 6- and then almost disappear by the time they head to college. At times, often because of chronic infection, they can become large and block up the nasal passages and contribute to middle ear infections and persistent sinus infections in children. If indicated, the adenoids may be removed (adenoidectomy) because of these problems.
We do NOT recommend routine use of antibiotics during or after removing adenoids from children. While there may be reasons to use them for a particular child, the American Academy of Otolaryngology (ENT scientific group) in their most recent clinical guidelines argues against the use of antibiotics for tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils) alone- and by extension to adenoid surgery. Studies have not shown significant benefit in their routine use around adenoid surgery.
Robert Pincus MD