Is a Power-Assisted Adenoidectomy Right for Your Child? Ear Infections


An ENT specialist (otolaryngologist) diagnoses and treats ear, nose, and throat conditions. This is the medical professional who performs adenoidectomies. He or she will talk to you about the best way to remove your child’s adenoids.

ENT specialists can use one of several methods to remove adenoids. The choice depends on your child’s condition and the surgeon’s preferred technique:

  • Curette – Most adenoidectomies are done with this surgical instrument, which looks like a small garden hoe with the center of the blade cut out. The inside edge of the curette is very sharp. To see the adenoids, the surgeon guides a tiny mirror high into the throat behind the nose. He or she then positions the curette, removes the mirror, and “swipes” the adenoids from the back of the throat.

    Because the surgeon cannot see the adenoids while he or she is using this method, there is a risk of damaging nearby healthy tissue.

  • Suction cautery – This method uses a metal instrument that generates heat to remove or shrink the adenoid tissue. This technique is usually effective and safe. The device is flexible and can be bent to fit the patient’s mouth, nose, and throat.

    With this technique, the surgeon has better access to the adenoids and can see them better, which can result in less blood loss during surgery. Suction cautery works by burning away the adenoid tissue. This method isn’t very precise because during the operation, it’s hard for the surgeon to tell if all the necessary tissue has been removed.

  • Power-Assisted – This technique was developed in the early 1990s, and has several advantages over other methods. It uses a microdebrider, a powered instrument with a very small rotating tip.

    The microdebrider helps your surgeon remove tissue more precisely, so procedures are generally faster, more effective, and have less bleeding. The surgeon also has a better view of the adenoids during surgery, so there’s less risk of accidentally taking too much tissue or damaging nearby tissue.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.